Gangjee wins in Japan, ends 14-year title drought
OSAKA (JAPAN): Indian golfer Rahil Gandjee on Sunday clinched the Panasonic Open title in style by hitting a birdie in the last hole to end a 14-year-long title drought here.
The 39-year-old Gangjee was tied with Korea's Hyungsung Kim on 13-under going into the 18th and the final hole. The Indian held his nerves to hit a birdie on the final hole to end with a score of 14-under and bag the title.
Gangjee had won his maiden Asian Tour title in China way back in 2004.
The win brought Gangjee a lot of benefits, including a winner's cheque of over USD 283,000 plus a bonus of USD 50,000 for finishing second on the Panasonic Swing behind Shiv Kapur (who got USD 70,000). Gangjee also got two-year exemptions into Asian and Japan Tours.
In the intervening period from 2004 to the present, Gangjee had finished second three times, third another three times and had a total of 22 Top-10s.
Earlier this year, Gangjee had pulled out of Myanmar and Singapore events because of a stomach bug, so this win makes up for all those.
Gangjee became the third Indian after Jyoti Randhawa (Suntory Open 2003), Jeev Milkha Singh (2 in 2006 and 2 in 2008) to win a Japan Tour title. Last year, Ajeetesh Sandhu won a 36-hole event on Japan Challenge Tour last year.
Kolkata-born Gangjee wanted to be a jockey before his father convinced him to take up golf because he was afraid of his son getting injured. Little over a year ago Gangjee moved to Bengaluru.