PHUKET (Thailand), March 8 : PGTI member Jyoti Randhawa bagged his ninth international title after he emerged triumphant at the US$500,000 Singha Thailand Open on Sunday. This was also Jyoti’s eighth victory on the Asian Tour. Randhawa (68, 68, 62, 65) recorded a tournament total of 17 under 263 with the help of a clinical five under 65 in the final round at the Laguna Phuket Golf Club. Welshman Rhys Davies secured second place as he totaled 15 under 265. There was further good news for India as SSP Chowrasia’s (66, 62, 70, 69) 13 under 267 total earned him a tied fourth finish.
Randhawa, who was tied for the overnight lead with Davies and Chowrasia, pulled one stroke clear of the pack after shooting three birdies in his opening five holes. He coolly maintained his grip down the final straight with further birdies on the 12th and 15th holes.
“I’m feeling great. I played marvellous golf the last two days. To shoot five under without any bogeys was good, I’m very happy,” said Randhawa after taking home a cheque of US$79,250.
“The way the course was set up and the way it was playing, I thought I could shoot some low numbers and I did that the last two days and I’m glad I did it,” said Randhawa, the first Indian to lift the Singha Thailand Open King’s Trophy.
The 36-year-old Indian ace, who has now climbed from fourth to second place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, said his relaxed attitude, where he spent time scuba diving with fellow competitor and brother-in-law Digvijay Singh and their families, was the key to his success on the holiday isle of Phuket.
“That’s the mantra now,” said the 2002 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner. “I need to relax a bit and chill out. You don’t practice and work hard during tournaments. You do it before that. I came here, I swam, I went scuba diving, enjoyed myself and here I am. I’ve won a golf tournament. I learned a lot and I think I need to do this more often.
“The two boys (Davies and Chowrasia) got me going. They were on my heels the whole day. S.S.P. made an eagle on the first hole and I needed to wake up and do something and luckily I did. It was good competition.”
Randhawa’s win at Phuket earned him his first international title since the Indian Open 2007 which he won about 17 months back. This was also his first title triumph outside India since the 2004 Volvo Masters of Asia.
Padamjit Sandhu, Director, PGTI, lauded Randhawa’s win, saying, “Jyoti has a strong ability to raise the bar under crunch situations and his convincing win at the Singha Thailand Open 2009 has reaffirmed that. A very hearty congratulations to him. International wins by our players also reaffirms PGTI’s faith in its vision and endeavour to diligently work towards creating a fundamentally robust launch pad for our players to be able to compete at the highest level across the globe.”
Chowrasia, the 2008 Emmar MGF Indian Masters champion, returned a 69 on Sunday to grab a share of fourth place. His final round featured an eagle on the opening hole besides two birdies and three bogeys. Gaganjeet Bhullar (64, 66, 71, 69) and Himmat Singh Rai (65, 72, 68, 65) finished tied 10th with identical totals of 10 under 270 to make it four Indians in the top 10.
Anirban Lahiri (68, 67, 72, 64) made a significant jump from overnight tied 46th to tied 19th thanks to an outstanding 64 in the final round.
Shiv Kapur was tied 32nd at six under 274 while PGTI member Mohd Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh finished tied 55th at one under 279.
Amandeep Johl’s three over 283 total placed him 64th and Digvijay Singh was tied 66th, having finished with an overall score of eight over 288.
Sweden’s Daniel Chopra fired an awesome 63 to clinch tied sixth place as his overall score read 12 under.