Greater Noida: Manav Jaini of Delhi scripted a remarkable turnaround with a three-under-69 in the final round to win the Jaypee Greens Open, here on Friday.
Jaini bagged his second professional title with a total score of 13-under-275 while Mukesh Kumar shot a one-under-71 to finish runner-up with a total of 11-under-277, at the Jaypee Greens Golf Resort.
The Delhi lad (68-67-71-69) had a slow start to the day as he bogeyed the par-3 third where his tee shot got stuck in the back lip of the bunker.
The 29-year-old then had consecutive birdies on the fourth and fifth where he sank putts from six feet and 10 feet respectively.
Mukesh (72-67-67-71), in the meantime, picked up birdies on the second, fifth and 11th to establish a two-stroke lead over Jaini after 11 holes.
Jaini, the overnight joint leader along with Mukesh, got back in the game with a 12-feet birdie putt on the 12th to reduce the deficit to one shot. The big turnaround happened on the par-5 15th hole where the lead changed hands in favour of Jaini after he made birdie and Mukesh dropped a bogey.
Jaini, who had hit his rescue to perfection all week, produced another excellent approach shot with the club to hit the green in two shots on the 15th. He followed that up with a two-putt for birdie. Forty-seven-year-old Mukesh on the other hand found the water hazard on the 15th and thus dropped a shot.
He held his nerves to make pars on the last three holes to seal the title while Mukesh fell further back with a bogey on the final hole.
Jaini, who won his only previous title at a match play event in 2011, said, "I`m thrilled to have won my first stroke play event. I now have wins in both formats stroke play as well as match play. The win came after a long gap of two years even though I`ve been in contention on several occasions during this period.
Jaini has now climbed from 24th position to sixth place on the Rolex Rankings while Mukesh continues to lead the rankings.
Bangalore`s M Dharma (71-68-69-70) finished third at 10-under-278.
Mandeo Singh Pathania of the Jaypee Greens Golf Resort, Greater Noida, secured tied fourth place along with Chandigarh`s Harendra Gupta at eight-under-280.
Delhi`s Pratap Atwal, the lone amateur to make the cut, won the trophy for the best performance by an amateur. Atwal claimed overall tied 34th place with a total of six-over-294.
Jaini cherished his title triumph all the more as he upstaged one of the giants of Indian golf Mukesh Kumar en route to victory. Jaini turned the tables on Mukesh, a winner of more than 100 titles, in the final stretch today.
"It`s not every day that one beats Mukesh after coming from behind on the final day. Mukesh is usually unrelenting when he is in the lead especially in the final stages of a tournament. It`s a special feeling to have beaten a champion golfer like him despite the odds being stacked against me. This win will do wonders for my confidence," he said.