Chiragh clinches Bilt Open; Anirban, Vikrant finish second
Greater Noida: Chiragh Kumar was rewarded for his consistency as he fired a five-under 67 on the final round to pip overnight leader Anirban Lahiri and Vikrant Chopra to clinch the Rs one crore Bilt Open golf title on Saturday.
Leading by five strokes after the end of round three, Anirban`s plans went waywire and his fortunes took a turn as he wrapped up an unlucky day with a score of four-over 76 to finish joint second with Vikrant, who brought home a one-under 71 here at an aggregate of 14-under 274.
As the mist enveloping the Jaypee greens made way for a shiny day, the final round turned into a thrilling plot as Vikrant raised his claim for the trophy while Anirban`s game crumbled.
Overnight placed second, Vikrant hit five birdies but a triple bogey at the 14th and a penalty drop at the last hole culminated into a bogey to spoil his day after a brilliant morning.
Anirban succumbed to a series of mistakes and had 19 putts in his back nine and was left ruing his luck when he dropped a bogey at the par-3 17th hole and his last hole birdie putt lipped out, robbing him of a chance to go for a play-off with Chiragh, who curved his way into competition after a 17th hole birdie.
Slow and steady, Chiragh, who had finished second in the Indian Open at DGC recently, brought home a bogey-free round, studded with five birdies, four of which came at the back nine to win by a stroke with a total 273.
The Delhi golfer picked up a stroke at the seventh hole with a 30-feet putt and then hit consecutive birdies at the 10th and 11th. He parred the next three and gained another stroke at the 15th hole but it was the 50-feet birdie putt at the 17th that set the game for him.
"I didn`t expect to win at all today. I had no chance as Anirban had a five stroke lead and he was playing well. I didn`t set any targets but then I played solid golf. I missed three or four putts of within 12 feets at the first six holes but had a great putt at the seventh hole and that was the turning point for me," Chiragh said.
"I was not even looking at the leaderboard, it was only in the last three holes that I realised I had a chance but I didn`t take any pressure on me. I was hitting well and took some good decisions.”
"I have finished within top five in the last 4-5 events. I had won two titles last year and I wanted to win this year and I met my target. Next I am playing in Singapore. I want to concentrate on the Asian tour next season and see how it goes," he added.
While Chiragh prospered, nothing worked for Anirban as he dropped three bogeys at the sixth, 14th and 17th, and a double bogey at the 13th hole against a birdie at the 12th here.
"I made a lot of mistakes. You can`t win a tournament here with 19 putts on back nine. It was ridiculous. I made lots of bad clubbing decision. Nothing went according to plan. It was worse than disappointing. I was unlucky," Anirban said.
"I hit nothing close to the pin today and my putting also didn`t back it up, it was a nightmare. I don`t know how many shots lipped out today," he added.
Vikrant also was unlucky in a couple of occasions even though he had started off the day brilliantly and was three-under at the turn with the help of three birdies at the first, third and fourth holes.
He made a birdie start to his back nine also but lost two strokes at the get the ball out of the bunker and eventually ended up with a triple bogey at the 14th. He made amends at the next with a birdie but his tee shot in the last hole ended up on the bushes on the left and he had to take a penalty drop which culminated into a bogey.
"I was trying to play an aggressive line in my tee shot on the 18th hole but ended up losing a stroke and having a bogey but no worries. I was just bad luck," Vikrant said.
"Even at the 14th, I hit the bunker and my idea was to get the ball over the bunker and just triple it into the hole. It was bad luck but it didn`t bother me as I hit a birdie on the next," he added.
Veteran Gaurav Ghei and Shamim Khan turned in matching 67 to finish tied fourth at 275, while two-time winner Jyoti Randhawa finished sixth after carding 70 two strokes down.
Ashok Kumar (71) signed off at 10th place. Om Prakash Chouhan (69), Mithun Perera (69) and Abhinav Lohan (73) signed off at tied seventh at 278.
Himmat Rai (71) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (75) finished 11th and 22nd respectively with totals of 280 and 286.