Shankar Das at his best for the last,
Shankar Das saves his best for the last, prevails over R Murthy in playoff:Shankar Das of Kolkata clinched his second professional title when he prevailed over R Murthy of Bangalore in the playoff at the PGTI Players Championship presented by Poona Club Ltd. on Saturday. Shankar triumphed on the first playoff hole after he and Murthy had ended the regulation 72 holes with identical totals of 13 under 271 on a rain-affected day.
Shankar Das (69-69-67-66), who was two shots adrift of the lead in tied second overnight, carded his best score of the week, a five under 66, in round four. His round featured six birdies and a bogey. Shankar bogeyed the second but hit his tee shot within a few inches on the fourth to earn his first birdie of the day. He added two more birdies on the eighth and ninth thanks to his accurate iron-play to make the turn at two under.
The 28-year-old from Kolkata sneaked ahead of his nearest rivals R Murthy and Mithun Perera when he made a hat-trick of birdies on the 14th, 15th and 16th. He made a crucial 30 feet birdie putt on the 16th. There was a heavy downpour thereafter and play was suspended at 3:20 pm local time as the final group consisting of Shankar Das and Sri Lankans Mithun Perera and Anura Rohana were on the 17th green.
Play resumed at 5 pm local time after a one hour and forty minute rain delay. Shankar then made par on the last two holes. In the meanwhile, R Murthy, who was in the penultimate group, drew level with Shankar after making birdie-par on the 17th and 18th. The match then headed to a playoff between Shankar and Murthy.
Murthy found the hazard with his tee shot on the first playoff hole (18th hole) to hand Shankar the advantage. With Murthy taking a penalty drop after his tee shot, Shankar sealed the affair by finding the green in three shots and thereafter making par on the par-five 18th. Shankar’s solid effort on Saturday helped him climb from 10th to fourth position on the Rolex Rankings.
Shankar said, “This is an incredible win as I came from behind right towards the end of the tournament. I think I boosted my chances today with the 30 feet birdie putt on the 16th and the two-putt from 30 feet for par on the 18th. These were two crucial moments that went my way. I hit it close through the round and grabbed all my chances. I did well to adapt to the speed of the greens after the rain in round three and round four. I was rewarded for staying focused and keeping the ball in play during the playoff.”
R Murthy (69-68-68-66), who was looking for his maiden professional win, got off to a forgettable start with bogeys on the first two holes and a double bogey on the third. He then rallied with nine birdies on the next 15 holes but could not get the better of Shankar Das in the playoff.
Rookie Mithun Perera (70-68-67-68) secured third place with a total of 11 under 273. He made four birdies on the first 10 holes and was within one stroke of the lead till the 16th. However, he blew his chances by dropping a bogey on the 17th.
Anura Rohana of Sri Lanka, the overnight leader, finished joint fourth along with Delhi’s Shamim Khan at 10 under 274.
Mukesh Kumar secured 13th place at four under 280 while Gaganjeet Bhullar, Manav Jaini and Pune’s Gurki Shergill were in tied 14th at three under 281.
Pune’s Aditya Bhandarkar, the lone amateur to make the cut, won the trophy for the best amateur. He totaled four over 288 to finish tied 33rd.