Pune: Veteran Mukesh Kumar of Mhow got back to his winning ways after he edged out Kolkata`s Rahil Gangjee on the second play-off hole to win the Aircel PGTI Players Championship crown on Friday.
Mukesh and Gangjee headed for the play-off as they ended up with identical totals of five under 279 after the regulation 72 holes on the final day at the Poona Club Golf Course.
While Mukesh shot a four under 67 in the final round, Gangjee turned in a card of three under 68.
Mukesh`s win today earned him the winner`s cheque worth Rs 6,46,600 and helped him climb from third position to second spot in the Rolex Rankings (Order of Merit). This was also the 44-year-old`s first ever win in Pune and his 10th on the Aircel PGTI.
Mukesh Kumar (73-71-68-67), who was six strokes off the lead in tied ninth position after round three, produced yet another fine last round effort to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. He had a sedate start to the day, having dropped a bogey on the fifth, but he started looking dangerous when he picked up birdies on the seventh, eight, 11th and 12th thanks to some outstanding chipping and putting.
A 15 feet birdie putt on the 15th lifted his game and confidence. However, a three-putt led to a bogey on the 17th. Mukesh then closed the round on a high and took the match to a play-off when he produced a magnificent chip from 30 yards to set up an easy birdie on the 18th.
Mukesh and Rahil were all square after the first play-off hole. Mukesh hen ran away with it on the second hole as he hit a brilliant second shot from 275 yards that landed 20 feetfrom the flag on the par five 18th. The old warhorse won with a par as Gangjee found the rough and the bunker on the same hole and as a result made bogey.
Rahil Gangjee`s (68-73-70-68) final round that included an eagle on he 10th, four birdies and three bogeys helped him secure his best finish of the year.
Gaganjeet Bhullar carded a 72 to finish in tied third at three under 281 along with overnight leader Himmat Singh Rai who returned a 75.
Shamim Khan and Manav Jaini shared fifth spot at two under 282 while Anirban Lahiri, Vinod Kumar and Karanjit Singh Sandhu were a further two strokes back in tied seventh. Lahiri fired a blistering 65.
C Muniyappa was in tied 10th along with Feroz Ali Mollah and Pune-based amateur Aditya Bhandarkar at two over 286. Bhandarkar won the trophy for having finished with the best score among the amateurs.
Pune-based professionals Gurki Shergill (12 over 296) and Dinesh Raghuvanshi (16 over 300) finished tied 33rd and tied 49th respectively.