Ashok Kumar prevailed in a playoff over Ajeetesh Sandhu to lift his 13th PGTI title at the PGTI Masters 2016 being played at the Classic Golf & Country Club here on Friday.
Ashok (68-67-70-66) and Ajeetesh (65-71-68-67) were in a deadlock after the regulation 72 holes as both totaled 17-under-271. After both made pars on the first playoff hole, the second extra hole turned out to be decisive as Ashok converted a six-footer for birdie to clinch the title even as Ajeetesh made par.
Ashok, who last won on the PGTI nearly a year back in Mumbai, a victory also achieved on the second playoff hole, came out firing on all cylinders on Friday as he produced the day’s best of six-under-66. Ashok, placed third, one off the lead, after round three, got his act together with four birdies on the front-nine in round four to pose a serious threat to overnight joint leader Ajeetesh. After making two long birdie putts on the eighth and ninth, the 33-year-old Ashok conceded a bogey on the 12th against the run of play. However, the 2010 Rolex Ranking champion came roaring back with birdies on the 14th, 17th and 18th to take the match into a playoff.
Ajeetesh had drained five birdies till the 16th and the match seemed to be going his way but Ashok turned it around with a 20-feet conversion on 17 and a magnificent chip on 18 which he almost holed.
Ashok said, “I knew I had the advantage going into the playoff on the 18th as it is a long hole and my iron-play has been terrific this week. I made some long putts on Friday and I feel the turning point was the birdie-birdie finish on 17 and 18 in regulation play that got me into the playoff. The 20-feet conversion on 17 was crucial.
“I’ve practiced a lot in recent months, much more than ever before, and that has produced the results for me. I’ve posted top-10s in my last three events.
“ My career has seen several ups and downs but I’ve not let that play too much on my mind and instead stayed the course.