Kensville Open: Shamim Khan registers three-shot victory

Shamim Khan lifted his 15th trophy, which also accounted for his 17th overall professional win, on the TATA Steel PGTI by winning the Kensville Open.

File photo: Shamim Khan fired a two-under 70 in the final round to coast to a comfortable three-shot win at the Kensville Open.   -  Twitter

Delhi’s Shamim Khan fired a two-under 70 in the final round to coast to a comfortable three-shot win at the Kensville Open golf tournament at the Kensville Golf and Country Club in Ahmedabad on Sunday. The experienced Shamim, the overnight leader by two shots, emerged as the wire-to-wire champion with a winning total of 13-under-275.

Shamim, thus, lifted his 15th trophy on the TATA Steel PGTI tour, which also accounted for his 17th overall professional win. Pune-based Udayan Mane, the only player besides Shamim to return four sub-par rounds during the Rs 40 lakh tournament, came up with a last round of 71 to secure the runner-up spot at 10-under-278.

Shamim (66-68-71-70), who held the lead in all the three previous rounds, enjoyed his best day with the putter as he sank five birdies at the cost of three bogeys. The 41-year-old stretched his lead to three shots at the turn having made two 20-feet birdie conversions on the front-nine.

Shamim dropped two bogeys on the back-nine after finding a tree on one hole and a hazard on the other, but he still managed to close out the match with two birdies even as the others were unable to catch up with him. Shamim’s first title after a one-year gap earned him prize money worth Rs. 6,46,600 that pushed him up from 30th place to 14th position in the TATA Steel PGTI Order of Merit.

Shamim, known to have one of the most smooth golf swings in India, said, “I putted the best today as compared to the last three rounds and that set up my win. I also recovered well from tough positions on a couple of holes to make good bogeys.

“I knew I had it in the bag after I birdied the 14th and Udayan bogeyed the 15th. At that stage my lead grew to four shots with three holes left to play. I knew I could play safe from there on and win,” he said.

“This win really raises my confidence as it was achieved with a double-digit total score on a difficult course. In fact, only two players, Udayan and me, had a double-digit total this week. That reflects the tough scoring conditions at Kensville.”

Udayan (69-67-71-71), lying two off the lead in tied second after round three, shot a 71 on day four that featured three birdies and two bogeys. Udayan had a poor start as he bogeyed the first hole. However, he was looking good for a late surge when he picked up birdies on the eighth, ninth and 11th. He drained a 25-footer on the eighth and tapped-in on the 11th.

But missing the fairway with his drive on the 15th put paid to Udayan’s hopes as he bogeyed that hole to concede an almost unassailable four-shot lead to Shamim. Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha shot the day’s joint lowest round of 68 to claim tied third place at six-under-282 along with Om Prakash Chouhan (71) of Mhow.

Gurugram’s Veer Ahlawat, the winner on the PGTI last week, took a share of the fifth place along with Kolkata’s Sunit Chowrasia at five-under-283.

Ahmedabad’s Jay Pandya ended the tournament as the best amateur in tied 21st with a total of even-par-288. Last year’s champion Tapy Ghai of Gurugram took tied 29th place at three-over-291. Anshul Patel, the other Ahmedabad-based amateur who made the cut, finished 50th at 12-over-200.