Zamal Hossain Mollah came agonisingly close to forcing a playoff in the TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship in Chandigarh recently, but eventually had to settle for the second position.
The 37-year-old golfer missed a 15-feet birdie putt by a whisker on the final hole and thus the opportunity to take the match into a playoff went begging.
Zamal was even starting to leap as the ball looked destined for the hole, but to everyone’s surprise, the ball would stop short of the hall a few inches.
Yuvraj Singh Sandhu of Chandigarh eventually won the title of the Rs. 50 lakh event by one stroke, taking his third title in five months.
Yuvraj (70-67-65-69) shot a resolute three-under 69 in the final round to end up with a one-stroke victory at 17-under 271. The 25-year-old Sandhu bagged a prize money cheque worth Rs. 8,08,250.
Zamal (67-66-69-70), the joint overnight leader along with Yuvraj, claimed the runner-up position at 16-under 272.
Karandeep Kochhar, another Chandigarh lad, fired a spectacular 65 in round four, the day’s best score, to secure third place at 15-under 273.
Zamal enjoyed a slim one-stroke lead early in the day till there was a two-shot swing in favour of Yuvraj Singh Sandhu on the par-3 eighth that helped the latter move into a one-shot lead.
On the back-nine, Yuvraj’s putter stayed hot as he continued to drain putts from a range of 10 to 15 feet to push ahead with birdies on the 11th and 12th even as Zamal’s form with the driver seemed to have deserted him with no birdies in sight for the Dhaka-based golfer.
There was another twist on the 17th, this time a two-shot swing in favour of Mollah as he birdied from four feet while Sandhu found the trees and the bunker to concede a shot.
Yuvraj finally saw it home after playing a quality chip to set up a tap-in for par on the 18th but not before surviving a scare from Zamal who narrowly missed a 15-feet birdie conversion on the same hole that could’ve taken the match into a playoff.
Yuvraj, who won his third career title, said, “It was about staying patient from the very outset. I knew the last four to five holes would be critical and I needed to stay patient on that stretch in particular.
“I had the confidence of playing at home in conditions that I know well. The home support and the presence of my parents and family also made me feel quite comfortable out there while competing. Its special to win at my home course and in the presence of my parents for the first time.
“It’s been about putting my head down and working on my game and my fitness with my team day in and day out. That’s been the key to my consistency.
“It was an intense final day as I did not have a comfortable lead at any point. But I stuck to what has worked for me before.”