Gujarat Open Golf C'ship: Abhinav Lohan fires ace on his way to title triumph

Ahmedabad, March 9 (IANS) Abhinav Lohan of the DLF Golf & Country Club, Gurugram, made it a memorable final day as he struck an ace en route to a determined three-under 69 to secure victory at a total of seven-under 209 in the Gujarat Open Golf Championship 2024 at the Glade One Golf Resort & Club here on Saturday. Karnal’s Mani Ram returned a last round of 73 to finish runner-up at a total of six-under 210 in the INR 1 crore event.

The first two rounds of the tournament comprised nine holes each. The third and fourth rounds comprised 18 holes each. The tournament was played over a total of 54 holes. The par for the course in the third and fourth rounds was 72. The 9-hole course was played twice in rounds three and four with different pin positions.

Abhinav Lohan (34-36-70-69), lying overnight tied fifth and five shots off the lead, had a dream outing at Glade One on Saturday as he came up with an ace on the 16th that turned the tide in his favour and helped him seize his third career title and first in four years. The 34-year-old Lohan started the day with a bogey but came back with some good wedge shots on the fifth and eighth that produced birdies. On the 13th he narrowly missed a hole-in-one and had to settle for a birdie.

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Abhinav then suffered a setback on the 14th where he made a three-putt and dropped a bogey. This was followed by the game-changer hole-in-one on the 16th that helped Lohan leapfrog all his rivals except the leader Mani Ram, who later stumbled with a quadruple-bogey on the 17th that saw Abhinav emerge champion. Mani Ram (33-33-71-73) was staring at his maiden PGTI title with a two-shot lead till the 16th thanks to his four birdies and two bogeys. But a few poor bunker shots on the 17th where he had a tough lie saw Mani Ram concede a quadruple bogey. However, his birdie with a long conversion on the 18th helped the 41-year-old Mani Ram claim the sole runner-up spot.

Abhinav, a part of the Indian team that won a silver medal at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, said, “That hole-in-one changed everything for me. I still can’t believe what a day I’ve had. Sitting in the scoring area I was more worried about calculating my score correctly before signing my scorecard because I’ve signed a wrong scorecard in the past. I guess it was just meant to be. I didn’t hit the best of shots on the 16th, but it landed perfectly on the slope and found the hole.

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“I would like to thank my family, my coach, my sponsor and my home course DLF Golf & Country Club for all their support since this win has been a long time coming,” added Abhinav, who picked up the winner’s cheque worth INR 15 lakh to jump from 26th to third position in the PGTI Ranking. Lohan had also claimed the silver medal for Haryana in the individual event of the 2022 National Games.

Italy’s Michele Ortolani and Chandigarh’s Angad Cheema took tied third place at five-under 211. Ahmedabad’s Anshul Patel was the best-placed among the local golfers as he ended the week in tied 24th at two-over 218. Scotland’s Harvey McDonald, the only amateur to make the cut, won the trophy for the best-performing amateur.

Round 4 Leaderboard:

209: Abhinav Lohan (34-36-70-69)

210: Mani Ram (33-33-71-73)

211: Michele Ortolani (39-32-71-69); Angad Cheema (33-38-69-71).

–IANS

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