Karandeep Kochhar ends PGTI title drought with Players Championship victory

Chandigarh’s Karandeep Kochhar clinched victory on his home turf with a stoic last round effort of three-under-69 at the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship 2020 Presented by Chandigarh Golf Club.

Twenty-one-year-old Kochhar’s long-awaited win was his second on the PGTI and his first since turning professional in 2017. His first win on the PGTI came in 2016 at the age of 17 while he was still an amateur. Karandeep, the leader since round two, ended up with a tournament total of 18-under-270 to finish two shots ahead of the rest at the Rs. 30 lakh event.

Kochhar, who took home the winning cheque worth Rs. 4,84,950, has now climbed from seventh to second position in the PGTI Order of Merit. Pune-based Udayan Mane continues to lead the merit list.

Twenty-six-year-old Sunit Chowrasia of Kolkata, nephew of Indian golfing great SSP Chawrasia, broke the course record with a sensational 10-under-62 to secure the runner-up spot at 16-under-272.

Karandeep Kochhar

Karandeep Kochhar (66-68-67-69), the overnight leader by a massive four shots, kept his nerves on the final day to register his first win on the PGTI in four years after having come close to winning on several occasions including posting three runner-up finishes.

Kochhar said, “I was very consistent through the week and made just two bogeys during the tournament. So it’s been quite a satisfying performance,” added Karandeep, who is likely to make big gains in the world ranking from his current 586th position. 

Sunit Chowrasia

Sunit Chowrasia (69-69-72-62), who was overnight 14th and nine off the lead, had a blazing start as he birdied the first three holes making two 15-footers and a good chip-putt. With two more birdies on the eighth and ninth, including another conversion from 15 feet, Sunit made the turn at five-under.

Chowrasia, who turned professional in 2018, has also shattered the previous course record of 64 jointly held by Rashid Khan, Sudhir Sharma, and Abhijit Singh Chadha. It was also Sunit’s best finish on the PGTI.

Chowrasia said, “I didn’t have very high expectations at the start of the day but the start was terrific and the birdies just kept coming all day. I was in great rhythm throughout. My short-game was excellent and my putter was on fire. For instance on the 14th I had a 30-footer where I thought I’ll make a two-putt for par but it found the hole for a birdie to my delight.

Chandigarh’s Akshay Sharma (69), last week’s winner, took third place at 14-under-274.

PGTI Order of Merit leader Udayan Mane (67) of Pune took tied 14th place at eight-under-280.

Rashid Khan (75) of Delhi, the last winner of this event, ended tied 29th at even-par-288.

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