Khalin Joshi’s flawless final round of four-under 68 helped him come out on top at the PGTI Players Championship 2022 here on Saturday.
Bengaluru-based Khalin, who was placed second and one shot off the lead after round three, set a new record for the lowest winning total at the Coimbatore Golf Club with his 14-under 274 aggregate for the week at the Rs. 50 lakh event. It was 30-year-old Joshi’s seventh professional win and sixth victory on the PGTI. He took home a prize money cheque worth Rs. 7,50,000 that lifted him from 35th to 10th position on the PGTI Order of Merit.
Arjun Sharma of Greater Noida, leading by one shot after round three, carded a 70 in round four to register a career-best runner-up finish at 13-under 275. Arjun, as a result, moved up from 77th to 28th place on the PGTI’s money list.
Ahmedabad’s Varun Parikh struck a hole-in-one on the seventh enroute to his last round of 68 that earned him third place at 11-under 277. Thus Varun too recorded a career-best finish.
Khalin Joshi (69-68-69-68), a winner on the Asian Tour and the 2018 PGTI Order of Merit champion, was off to a brisk start on Saturday after he birdied the second and third. Joshi, whose driving was the standout feature of his game during the week, added two more birdies on the sixth and ninth, the latter from 12 feet, to score heavily on the front nine for the first time in the tournament.
Joshi also made some terrific par saves including a chip-in on the seventh and six to seven feet conversions on the 13th and 17th to bag his first title since his win in Jaipur in October last year. Joshi made pars all the way on the back-nine. He bettered Sri Lankan K. Prabagaran’s previous lowest winning total of nine-under 279 at the Coimbatore Golf Club which was set in 2014.
Joshi said, “I knew a good start would put pressure on all my other rivals. That’s exactly what I did. I was very pleased with my start. I finally managed to score well on the front nine this week. The chip-in for par on the seventh was the game-changer for me as it gave me further momentum after the birdie on the sixth. I was also happy with the way I kept my composure on the back nine.
“Driving was the best aspect of my game this week. My solid hitting off the tee made it easier for me to score. I’m someone who thrives on confidence and momentum, so hopefully, I can now capitalise on this good form in the coming events.”
Arjun Sharma (67-69-69-70) traded four birdies in exchange for two bogeys and was neck and neck with Khalin till the 15th hole. Arjun put up a gritty display sinking some good putts but also had three three-putts in round four that resulted in his two bogeys and a par on the 13th. The 29-year-old Sharma’s bogey on the 16th saw him drop out of the joint lead with Joshi. Thereafter, Joshi maintained his one-shot advantage till the end.
Arjun said, “I take away a lot from this week’s performance. I managed myself very well on the course and kept myself in the match till the very end. The fact that I performed well in such difficult conditions with the wind being a major factor, gives me a lot of self-belief going ahead.”
Ahmedabad’s Varun Parikh (70-68-71-68), who made a hole-in-one with his five-iron on the seventh, picked up five more birdies and three bogeys during his round.
Bengaluru’s M. Dharma (68) took fourth place at 10-under 278.
Rookie Akshay Neranjen (74) of Bengaluru, making his pro debut this week, had a creditable tied fifth finish at seven-under 281 along with the seasoned Amandeep Johl (68) of Chandigarh and Delhi’s Sachin Baisoya (68).
The day’s best score of 66 was shot by Bangladesh’s Jamal Hossain. Jamal ended the week in tied 14th at four-under 284.