Taiwan Masters: India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu finishes tied-second

Sandhu suffers a late bogey in the final round to blow up his chances of securing the title. Rashid Khan finishes tied-fifth, and Viraj Madappa tied-ninth.

Ajeetesh Sandhu carded a 72 in his final round.   -  Sandeep Saxena

India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu finished tied-second after suffering a late double-bogey in the final round of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters here on Sunday.

Thailand’s Suradit Yongcharoenchai held his nerve in a tight finish, securing an even-par-back-nine to card 70 to win the title and his career’s biggest prize cheque. He had begun the day one shot behind the leaders — Sandhu and Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena.

For Suradit, it was a breakthrough on the Asian Tour where he had made his debut as a 17-year-old in 2015. Suradit carded 70, while Sandhu and Tabuena shot 72 each. Adilson Da Silva fired 68 to jump to tied-second.

Among Indians, Rashid Khan shot the best round on Sunday — a 67 — and jumped to tied-fifth. Viraj Madappa was unable to ensure another good round after a 65 on Saturday; his 76 took him to tied-ninth. Khalin Joshi (72) was tied-19th, S Chikkarangappa (78) fell to tied-37th and Chiragh Kumar (73) tied-40th.

‘Wrong decisions’

Sandhu did not get his putts to fall, and turned in an even-par with one birdie and one bogey. He added a second birdie on the 13th to get to 10-under. But a costly double on the 16th ended his hopes. He ensured a birdie on the 18th hole, but the best he could reach was tied-second.

Sandhu said, “It was a tough day so it was really nice to end it with that birdie on 18. I left a few shots out there and that really cost me the tournament. I made two wrong decisions on 16 and that led to a double-bogey and you cannot afford to do that, especially when you’re trying to close out the tournament. But I’m happy with how I played and where my game is heading and I can only look forward to the rest of season.”

A hat-trick of birdies

Da Silva, on the other hand, made a charge with a hat-trick of birdies on the back nine. But he had much deficit from the first three days to cover up.

Tabuena blew his chances with bogeys on the last two holes.

Suradit started well, ensuring a birdie on his third hole, but went behind by two shots thanks to a double-bogey on the next hole. Suradit was quick to make amends when he charged to the turn with three birdies in his next four holes.

But after making another birdie on 13, he dropped a shot on 14 before making four straight pars to sign off with a four-day total of 10-under-par 278. He was left to wait for close to 30 minutes — he watched the final group in action from the sidelines.

Tabuena had the best chance to force a playoff with Suradit on 18, but his approach landed in the bunker from where he could not get his ball on to the green. It resulted in a bogey, confirming Suradit’s first-ever win.