Gangjee attains best finish in seven years, Lahiri 6th
Singapore: Rahil Gangjee birdied his last five holes to produce his best finish since 2007 on Asian Tour as he ended fourth at The Championship at Laguna National here today.
In-form Anirban Lahiri carded a bogey-free six-under 66 to finish tied sixth, his sixth successive top-10 finish on Asian Tour.
Gangjee (65) totalled 19-under, the best total of his career, and Lahiri was 17-under. Another Indian SSP Chowrasia (67) was tied 11th at 14-under at the event jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
Jeev Milkha Singh (72) and Chiragh Kumar (74) were tied 64th at three-under 285 each. It was Gangjee?s best finish on Asian Tour since the third place at Hero Indian Open in 2007, though he did finish runner-up at 2012 Gujarat Kensville Challenge on European Challenge Tour in 2012.
He was also second at 2006 Mercuries Taiwan Masters. For Lahiri, the top-ranked Indian golfer in the world, it was his sixth successive top-10 finish on Asian Tour since Thailand Golf Championships and he has not finished outside top-12 since the Indonesian Open last December.
Meanwhile, up at the top, Chile?s Felipe Aguilar blazed home with a birdie-eagle finish to set the clubhouse target of 22-under 266 and it earned him his second European Tour title, six years after he won the first in Indonesia in 2008. Aguilar, playing in fourth from last group, was two-under for the front nine but on the back nine he was on fire as he birdied six times and then holed his approach shot on the par-4 18th for a stunning eagle and a back-nine total of eight-under 28 and a total of 10-under 62, one ahead of David Lipsky (65) and Anders Hansen (67), who were left at 21-under 267.
After an outward-34, Gangjee parred the next four holes before a series of five birdies starting from the par-four 14 saw him close with a 65 that was to be his best score for the week. He raced home with an inward-31. "The last few holes went by in a hurry. My heart was beating fast on the 17th tee when I hit that six-iron. It ended on the edge of the green and did not move from there. I kept myself in it and it was a bonus that the putt went in," Gangjee said.
"I think this is my best finish (in a long time) and my best four round score ever. It?s been a long one month playing under this gruesome weather. I am very happy that I am going home now. My game has been pretty good. "I think it`s my physical ability to carry on which has been tested this week. My putting has been very good. I haven`t hit it that well," he said.
Lahiri, who won last week, said, "I`m very happy with the way I played this week. I have been playing very well. It`s nice to finish with a solid round. The course was set up for scoring this week so you had to go out there and make the birdies. I didn`t make enough for the first couple of days so it was difficult to catch up. I play the same brand of golf all the time. I wasn`t aggressive today. I hit some better golf today as compared to earlier in the week."
Lipsky, the Korean-American, shot seven-under 67, while playing in the second last group, and Anders Hansen (67) in the final group and overnight leader was 22-under with three to play when he bogeyed the 16th. Hansen was unable to find birdies on either 17th or 18th to leave Aguilar as the winner.
Aguilar wrote off his own chances after an outward-34 but started believing in himself when he went on an astonishing birdie blitz after the turn. After his birdie got him to 19-under through 15 holes, Aguilar sunk a 10-ft birdie putt at the par-three 17th and closed in dramatic fashion when he holed his approach for eagle at the last for a winning total of 22-under-par 266.
Lipsky`s wait for his second win on the region`s premier Tour was prolonged despite his best efforts to end his two-year title drought.