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Madappa finishes T-26; Luck rallies to win Asia-Pacific title

 V Krishnaswamy |  2016-10-10 22:11:16.0  |  Incheon (Korea)

Tough pin positions and windy conditions took a toll on the Indians, as Viraj Madappa finished the best among them Tied-26th in Asia-Pacific Amateur Championships on Sunday.

Madappa, who had even par rounds on the previous days, admitted he did not read the greens too well and ended with five-over which included three bogeys from 12th to the 18th. His 77 with just one birdie and six bogeys saw him total nine-over 297 and he tied for 26th.

The other Indians had a tougher time, as Rayhan Thomas, who was the best Indian for first two days, went to six-over with two birdies and eight bogeys, as he was Tied-29th at 11-over 299.

Yuvraj Sandhu (80) was Tied-38th and Rigel Fernandes (83) and Kshitij Naveed Kaul (79) were Tied-42nd. Priyanshu Singh missed the cut.

At the top, Australia Curtis Luck (67), starting the day seven shots behind Aussie colleagues, overnight leader Brett Coletta (75) and five behind individual World Amateur winner, Cameron Davis (77), pulled the rug from under their feet to add the Asia-Pacific Amateur title to his US amateur crown. That denied both Coletta and Davis the Masters ticket.

There was nothing about lucky about Curtis’ win because in August he won eight successive holes to win the US Amateur at Oakland Hills and he now gets to play Masters, US Open and British Open next year provided he stays amateur.

India’s Madappa, who went into the tournament without a practice round as his bag arrived only the evening before the first round, said, “The course set up was tough, but it is always so at Asia-Pacific. The greens were quite fast and the undulations, big and small ones, made it tough to read. I left a lot of them short but it was a great experience. I hope I can come back next year and have another shot.”

Arun Kumar Singh, the Director General of Indian Golf Union, added, “This lot and a few others form our pool for the Asian Games and most of them will stay amateurs as they get a lot of exposure and can bring medals at 2018 Asian Games. With three of them studying in US — Madappa, Fernandes and Priyanshu — and Rayhan doing well in Dubai plus Yuvraj and Kshitij doing well, I see a lot of promise.”

Elsewhere there was drama as the back nine came in sight. On the ninth, Coletta went into right bunker and had a double while Davis birdied for a three-shot swing. Davis moved from two behind to one ahead.

One group ahead Luck kept his slate clean and kept racking up birdies. He moved to third to second and finally joined Davis in shared lead at 11-under at the 15th. Then he set the target 12-under.

Coletta had another double on 11th. If he unravelled in middle holes with two doubles, Davis came unstuck in the last four holes with bogeys on 15th and 16th though a birdie on 17th meant he needed an eagle to join Luck at 12-under. Coletta birdied 17th and needed another on 18th to tie Luck.

Coletta managed a par, while Davis went for the green in two but ended in water and wound up with an eight. He finished fourth at seven-under as Kiwi Luke Toomey (66) took the third spot.

V Krishnaswamy

V Krishnaswamy

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