Noida, December 21, 2008: Shamim Khan (65, 66, 75, 70) won the ONGC Masters 2008 at the Noida Golf Course on Saturday to bag his second successive title on the PGTI. Shamim, the wire-to-wire leader from round one to round four, shot two under 70 in the final round to end the tournament with a total of 12 under 276. Amardip Sinh Malik (71, 66, 73, 69) finished three strokes behind Shamim in second place.
Shamim, who had won PGTI’s last event in Jamshedpur, earlier this month, now has a total of four professional titles in his kitty. Two of his four wins have come on the PGTI. The Delhi golfer’s win has also propelled him from fourth to second place on the 2007-08 PGTI Order of Merit. The 30-year-old went past Rahul Ganapathy in total earnings for the season when he picked up the winner’s cheque of Rs. 3,23,300
Shamim’s birdies on the second and fourth helped him maintain his overnight four-stroke cushion till the fifth hole even as his nearest rival Amardip Sinh Malik picked up birdies on the first two holes. The gap between the top two contenders started closing thereafter as 23-year-old Malik followed up a birdie-bogey on the sixth and seventh with two successive birdies on the eighth and ninth. Khan, on the other hand, dropped a bogey after finding the water hazard on the par three 10th hole.
There was a difference of just one stroke between Shamim and Amardip when they approached the 11th tee. Malik dropped a shot when he bogeyed the 11th but the Meerut-based professional came back to within one stroke of the leader by making birdie on the 14th.
After firing six straight pars from the 11th to the 16th, Shamim knocked in a birdie with a 15 feet putt on hole no. 17 to establish a two-stroke lead. Amardip then produced a bogey on the final hole as he pulled his tee-shot into the water hazard on the left side of the 18th fairway. Meanwhile, Shamim sealed his win when he made par on the 18th despite going over the green with his second shot.
"It feels wonderful to win a second straight title on the PGTI. I began confidently by making birdies on the second and fourth. I thought I recovered really well after hitting my tee shot into the bushes on the second. From then on I just concentrated on playing solid and was patient even when Malik reduced the lead to one stroke. The pressure was always on him because he had to catch up with me," said Shamim.
He added, "This is turning out to be a great season for me. The fact that I am in great putting form has given me a lot of confidence."
Amardip Sinh Malik, whose second place finish was his best on the PGTI, said, "I went out to achieve something and pretty much did it. Even though I was four strokes behind after round three I did not consider myself out of the race. I was quite pumped up after the first two birdies today but a few bad drives on the back nine let me down. However, my putting and chipping was exceptional and I take a lot of positives from this tournament."
Delhi’s Vinod Kumar (67, 74, 72, 69) finished third with a total of six under 282.
Toran Bikram Shahi of Nepal was one stroke behind Vinod in fourth place. Toran and Mukesh Kumar shot matching 65s to record the best scores of round four. Toran’s 65 included two eagles.
Mukesh Kumar, Harmeet Kahlon, Rahil Gangjee and C Muniyappa shared fifth place at four under 284.
Ashok Kumar’s total of even par 288 placed him tied 11th. Rahul Ganapathy finished tied 14th with an overall score of one over 289.