NEW DELHI: India’s Khalin Joshi fired a decisive birdie on the 18th hole to clinch his maiden Asian Tour title at the Panasonic Open India tournament in New Delhi on Sunday.
The 26-year-old Joshi hit four-under 68 in the fourth round to edge out Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh by one shot in a dramatic finish at the Delhi Golf Course.
Joshi, who was the overnight leader along with Rahman, started with two bogeys in the first three holes but soon gained momentum to hit six birdies.
Rahman, who won the Indian Open at the Delhi course in 2013, carded an even-par at the final hole and Joshi hit the winning putt to a loud roar.
“It’s been a great feeling. I have been knocking on the door for quite a while, since the day I turned pro (in 2013),” Joshi said after the win.
“I knew I had to make a birdie over here…It didn’t matter what Siddikur was doing. I wanted to my best and hopefully that would be good enough,” he told reporters.
Joshi underlined India’s domination at the $400,000 Asian Tour event, becoming the seventh Indian winner in eight editions. Australia’s Wade Ormsby remains the only foreign winner, in 2013.
Joshi now has his eyes set on getting a European Tour card just like his Indian counterpart Shubhankar Sharma, who won the 2017 Joburg Open to earn full membership on the European Tour.
“I have three co-sanctioned events with Europe like Hong Kong, Mauritius and Joburg,” said Joshi.
“Hopefully I can do what my friend Shubhankar did last year and get my card secure up there (in Europe).”
Meanwhile the 33-year-old Rahman — who topped the leaderboard for two rounds before slipping out at the final moment — was not disappointed with the result.
Needing to finish inside the top-60 on the final merit rankings to keep his card for next year, the Bangladesh pro jumped to 53rd from 97th before the Delhi event.
“I am very happy with my result and I am proud of myself that I am able to put up a good fight for the title,” said Rahman, who scored a total of 16-under 272.
“I have been trying to get the win to get my card for next year. It’s been on the back of my mind. Although I didn’t win, I put in a better position to finish inside top-60 on the Habitat for Humanity Standings now.”
India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu managed a two-under in the final round to end tied third alongside Suradit Yongcharoenchai of Thailand. —AFP