Gleeson wins Indian Open, Chiragh finishes second
New Delhi: Trophy eluded Chiragh Kumar but the Indian golfer still managed his best-ever finish in an Asian Tour event by signing off second even as Australian David Gleeson won the USD 1.25 million event at the Delhi Golf Club on Sunday.
Chiragh`s second successive two-under 70 in the final round was three shots off the pace, while the Australian returned a four-under 68 to end his three-year title drought on the Asian Tour.
Overnight tied second, Chiragh held on to the position with the help of a birdie on the last hole for a four-day aggregate of 17-under 271. With this win, Chiragh also secured his Asian Tour card.
Ross Bain of Scotland and Chinese Taipei`s Lu Wei-Chih carded matching 67s to finish tied third with a total of 16-under 272 here.
SSP Chowrasia turned in a three-under 69 to finish a creditable tied seventh and regain his number one position in the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
A consistent Himmat Singh too brought home a four-under 68 to share the seventh spot with Chowrasia.
Manav Jaini (67) and Anirban Lahiri (69) finished tied 12th and tied 15th respectively with totals of 279 and 280.
Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy carded a 69 to sign off tied 15th, while defending champion Rikard Karlberg (79) endured another difficult day to finish in the bottom half at tied 64th.
Overnight leader Gleeson made a rampaging start to the final round, firing a couple of birdies at the first and fifth, with an eagle sandwiched at the third, to take the turn at four-under.
On his return journey, he shunned extravagance and parred the nine holes to stay ahead of the rest and take the crown.
"I`ve been thinking about this tournament for many months. I holed out for eagle on number three with a wedge (140 yards). After that I started playing more conservative," said Gleeson, who won the Volvo China Open in 2002 and Macau Open in 2008.
"Golf is a very fickle game. I`m holing more putts compared to before. It is an unbelievable to win again. My victories have been sporadic and hopefully this win will change that," said Gleeson who bagged a prize money of USD 198,125.
The Australian was struggling with his game earlier in the year but a change in his old set of golf clubs brought immediate results as he finished second at the Macau Open last month.
"And after making some changes to my clubs, I finally found what I wanted and it snowballed into some confidence. I`ve been playing well ever since," said Gleeson.
As Gleeson surged ahead, Chiragh slipped down the leaderboard in his front nine. He was even-par at the turn with the help of a bogey and birdie at the third and fourth holes.
A shot behind the leader on Saturday, Chiragh sank two birdies on the 11th and 14th and stumbled to a bogey on the 13th before picking up another birdie at the last hole to regain his second place.
"I played well and held on to myself well for the last two days. So I am happy with the score. I mean if someone would have told me at the start that I would be hitting 17-under, I would have jumped. So this win makes me believe in myself," said the 2006 Asian Games team silver medallist.
"My target was to do same thing today, that is, to get the fairways, get to the greens and putt well. I could have made a few more birdies but I couldn`t do that and failed to put any pressure on David as he run away with it," he added.