Home favourite Joshi jubilant after breakthrough win
New Delhi, October 28: India’s Khalin Joshi produced a dramatic finish when he fired four birdies in his closing five holes to sign for a four-under-par 68 and clinch his maiden Asian Tour title by one shot at the US$400,000 Panasonic Open India on Sunday.
Despite dropping two bogeys in this opening three holes, the 26-year-old Joshi withstood stifling pressure to bounce back with six birdies on his way home, including a seven-footer on the last to hold off the challenge of Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman, at the Delhi Golf Club.
Joshi, who held a share of the overnight one-shot lead thanks to a superb third-round 64, would match the lowest winning score of the tournament with his four-day total of 17-under-par 271 in the event, which celebrated its eighth edition on the Asian Tour this week.
Joshi, 26, said, “I have no words honestly. It’s a huge monkey off my back. I think I played really well…kept my nerves and played really solid coming in. The last four holes were the key for me. Like all night I was thinking about the 16th hole tee shot because that tee shot has haunted me for a while now.”
On how he handled the two early bogeys, he added, “Starting off with two bogeys, I don’t know if it was nerves but just poor decision making I guess. But I still knew that there was a lot of golf to be played. I was playing well and it was just a matter of time. You know the birdie I made on eighth gave me a lot of confidence that I am not very far away and I got to keep sticking to my game plan, I got to keep playing aggressive. You know like that’s all I did. Then again I hit the driver on 18th and I played very aggressive and that’s what payed off.”
He smiled and said, “I called up my friend Shubhankar, with whom I speak everyday and he was thrilled. My friends have been winning like Shubhankar, Rahil and others, so it was great to win like them.”
Teenaged Kshitij Naveed Kaul, 17, got his pro career off to a great start as he shot 68 in the final round to tie for sixth with Jazz Janewattananond (68) and Matt Stieger (69).
Delhi expert Siddikur fell short of his title bid after missing a 10-footer birdie putt on the last to settle for a par and a closing 69. He ended the week in second place on his own to mark his best result so far this season.
Young Thai talent Suradit Yongcharoenchai and Ajeetesh Sandhu of India shared third place on 274 following respective rounds of 69 and 70 while Aman Raj, also of India, recorded his career-best result on the Asian Tour after carding a 69 to settle a further shot back in fifth.
Joshi will take home a winner’s prize purse of US$72,000 courtesy of his victory, which saw him become the fifth Indian to win on the region’s premier Tour this season. He is also the 13th player to win for the first time on the Asian Tour in 2018.
The Panasonic Open India is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) and is the second leg of the 2018/19 Panasonic Swing, which is an aggregate points race that spans five events – in Thailand, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan.
Did you know?
- Khalin Joshi became the fifth Indian, following Shubhankar Sharma, Rahil Gangjee, Viraj Madappa and Gaganjeet Bhullar, to win on the region’s premier Tour this season. He is also the 13th player to win for the first time on the Asian Tour in 2018.
- Joshi, who hails from Bengaluru, kept the trophy on home soil after becoming the seventh Indian to win the popular event, which was inaugurated in 2011. Australian Wade Ormsby, who won in 2013, remains the only foreign winner of the event.
- It was Joshi’s first ever victory at the Delhi Golf Club, despite having played numerous tournaments on the course since his junior days.
- Prior to his breakthrough, Joshi has come close to winning his maiden title on several occasions. His previous best result on the Asian Tour was a runner-up finish at the 2017 TAKE Solutions Masters, which was held on his home course in Bengaluru. He has also enjoyed two top-10 finishes this season prior to his win.
- Joshi, who turned professional in 2013, recorded his personal best 18-hole score at the Delhi Golf Club with his third-round 64. It was also the best score of the week.
- Joshi matched the lowest winning score of the tournament, set by compatriot Shiv Kapur in 2017, with his four-day total of 17-under-par 271.
- With this victory, Joshi moved up to 16th place on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings and second place on the Panasonic Swing rankings.
- Siddikur Rahman was left to rue a missed opportunity on ending his five-year title drought. It was his third time finishing runner-up/joint runner-up in the event. He came in tied-second in 2012 and 2015.
- Siddikur holds an impeccable track record at the Delhi Golf Club. He won his second Asian Tour title in 2013, finished inside top-10 in four of his five attempts at the Panasonic Open India and has secured six top-10s in other Asian Tour events there.
- Siddikur entered the week in 97th place on the money list.His runner-up result would propel him to 53rd place on the latest Merit rankings, where he needs to stay inside top-60 at the end of the season to keep his Asian Tour card for 2019.
- Siddikur enjoyed his career-best season in 2013 when he came in fourth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit. He has not finished outside top-60 on the money list in his last eight consecutive seasons on Tour since 2010.
- The 33-year-old Siddikur wrote a slice of history in 2010 when he became the first player from Bangladesh to win on the Asian Tour at the Brunei Open.
- Suradit Yongcharoenchai marked his third and second straight top-five result on the Asian Tour this season with his tied-third finish. He came in joint runner-up at the TAKE Solutions Masters in India in August and finished tied-fifth in Pakistan two weeks ago.
- He joined the play-for-pay ranks at a tender age of 16. He turned 20 years old today.