Kolkata, March 15 (IANS) Aadil Bedi, 19, on Sunday won his maiden title in a thriller at the Bengal Open Golf Championship 2020, played at the Tollygunge Club in Kolkata.
Chandigarh-based Bedi triumphed in style with a chip-in birdie on the sixth playoff hole to end Pune golfer Udayan Mane's incredible three-match winning streak on the TATA Steel PGTI.
The tournament worth Rs 30 lakh witnessed the longest-running playoff on the PGTI. The previous record for the longest playoff was four holes which was set three times. The last event decided on the fourth playoff was the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational 2019 where Ajeetesh Sandhu prevailed over Rashid Khan.
Aadil Bedi (65-65-67-69) and PGTI Order of Merit leader Udayan Mane (67-63-67-69), both joint leaders going into the final round, shot scores of 69 in round four on Sunday to be tied at the top after the regulation 72 holes with matching totals of 14-under-266.
Bedi had a quiet front-nine as he dropped two bogeys and picked up a solitary birdie. But he fared much better on the back-nine making three birdies and a bogey. He sank a 15-footer on the 11th and capitalized on the par-5s 10th and 13th.
Mane on the other hand, was steady through the day as his round featured two birdies and a bogey and pars on the last eight holes.
The edge-of-the-seat playoff saw both contenders match each other shot for shot. However, Aadil displayed maturity beyond his years and nerves of steel to keep himself in the contest. Bedi sank a 35-footer for birdie on the third extra hole and a 10-footer for par on the fourth extra hole. Mane also had his moments as he too drained a tricky seven-footer for birdie on the third extra hole.
Finally, it was Aadil who came through with a sensational chip-in for birdie on the sixth extra hole. Udayan thus could not make it a record fourth straight title on the PGTI as his winning streak, which began in December last year in Jamshedpur, came to an end.
The first, second, fourth, fifth and sixth playoff holes were played on the par-3 18th while the third playoff hole was played on the par-4 first hole.
Aadil said, “It's incredible to win my first title in such a manner. It was my first event of the year and I managed to get in the groove early in the first round which helped me build up to the final round. I'm happy that I also managed to put behind the disappointment of missing out on my Asian Tour card at the Q School in Thailand.
“I handled the pressure really well. I was a little nervous at the start of the playoff, but then got into a good zone mentally. I tried to play my own game and didn't think too far ahead during the playoff.
“I feel my killer instinct came in when I tried to play some tough shots which I would not play otherwise. I managed to raise my game just at the right time. I guess having been in such situations before at the junior and amateur level also helped. The fact that I have won twice at Tolly as a junior was another factor that weighed in my favour.
“But Udayan played like a true champion. I knew I'll have to pull out my best to beat him.
“I'd like to thank my father Mr. Harry Bedi for being my pillar of strength,” added Aadil, who took home the winning cheque worth Rs 4,84,950.
Udayan Mane's runner-up prize worth Rs 3,34,950, helped him extend his lead to over Rs 8 lakh in the PGTI Order of Merit as his total earnings for the season moved to Rs 14,66,500. Gurugram's Veer Ahlawat is in second place in the money list.
Kolkata's Viraj Madappa, lying tied 11th and six off the lead after round three, posted the best score of the final day, a six-under-64, to finish the tourney in third place at 13-under-267. Viraj, playing at his home course, made an early charge with birdies on the second, third and fourth and a 12-ft eagle conversion on the seventh.
However, Madappa, who missed at least four putts within 10 feet on Sunday, slowed down on the back-nine making three birdies at the cost of two bogeys.
Veteran Mukesh Kumar (70) of Mhow took fourth place at 12-under-268.
Fifth position was jointly shared between Bengalureans Rahil Gangjee (67) and Khalin Joshi (70) and Mhow-based Om Prakash Chouhan (69) at 11-under-269.