Shiv Kapur prevails over Rashid Khan in playoff to win Jeev Milkha Invitational

Shiv Kapur prevailed over Rashid Khan in a playoff at the Rs. 1.5 crore Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational 2021 to register his first-ever win at a PGTI event. The tournament was decided in a playoff for the fourth year in succession.

The Dubai-based Kapur (64-68-67-70), who originally hails from Delhi and Khan (65-67-69-68), another Delhi golfer, were in a deadlock at 19-under 269 at the top of the leaderboard after regulation play, having shot final rounds of 70 and 68 respectively at the Chandigarh Golf Club.

Olympian Udayan Mane (69-68-67-67) took third place at 17-under 271 after returning a second straight 67.

Kapur, a six-time international winner who also has two previous wins on the Indian domestic tour to his name, came up with a brilliant second shot from the rough to make a two-putt for par on the playoff hole (18th hole) even as two-time Asian Tour winner Rashid hit his second shot into the water which effectively ended his challenge.

Earlier in the day, 39-year-old Kapur, the overnight leader by one shot, struggled with his hitting and as a result dropped three bogeys on the front-nine with just one birdie in exchange. A monster 50-feet birdie conversion on the 11th seemed to be the defining moment of the day for him.

Thereafter, Kapur kept landing it within six feet to pick up birdies on the 13th, 16th and 17th. He missed a four-footer for birdie and outright victory on the 18th but came back stronger in the playoff to lift the title at his close friend Jeev Milkha Singh’s event and take home the winning cheque worth Rs. 24,24,750.

Rashid Khan, who was two shots off the lead at the start of the day, went steady on the front-nine with two birdies and a bogey before emerging as a hot contender for the title with a much better back-nine that saw him make three birdies. Khan, a three-time PGTI Order of Merit champion, sank a 30-feet birdie putt on the 17th. He made par on the 18th but found the water with his second shot on the playoff hole where he had a bad lie.

Khan had earlier lost out in a marathon playoff to local lad Ajeetesh Sandhu at the 2019 edition of the event. Rashid took home a prize money cheque worth Rs. 16,74,750. He thus climbed from 16th to seventh position in the PGTI Order of Merit.

While Pune-based Udayan Mane ended third, two shots behind the winner, Chandigarh’s Aadil Bedi, who was overnight second and one off the lead, closed the week in fourth after his final round of 72 took his tally to 16-under 272. Kshitij Naveed Kaul of Delhi was fifth at 15-under 273.

Among the other marquee names in the field, Gaganjeet Bhullar shot the day’s best score of 66 to finish tied 13th at eight-under 280, SSP Chawrasia and former champion Chikkarangappa were both tied 16th at seven-under 281 while Jyoti Randhawa was tied 33rd at three-under 285.

US-based Varun Chopra won the trophy for the best performing amateur as he closed the week in tied 26th at four-under 284.