Manu Gandas of Gurugram recorded a thumping four-shot win after a nerveless final round display of six-under 66 to win the inaugural Dream Valley Group-Vooty Masters golf championship and pick his fifth title of the season at the Vooty Golf County in Vikarabad on Sunday.
Gandas (63-68-67-66), the overnight leader by one shot, totalled 24-under 264 for the week to register a title-triumph and thus match the PGTI record for most wins in a season, a record previously jointly held by Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (2022), Gaganjeet Bhullar (2009) and Ashok Kumar (2006-07).
In the process, Gandas also equalled the PGTI record for the lowest winning total (24-under 264) set earlier by Anirban Lahiri, Rashid Khan and Akshay Sharma.
Gandas collected the winner’s purse of Rs. 15 lakh and consolidated his second position in the Tata Steel PGTI rankings.
Om Prakash Chouhan (66-63-73-66) of Mhow finished runner-up at 20-under 268 following his last round of 66.
Delhi’s Shamim Khan shot a fine 64 on Sunday to secure third place at 16-under 272.
Chandigarh’s Sandhu continues to lead the PGTI Order of Merit thanks to his sensational last round effort of nine-under 63 which matched the course record set previously in the week by Gandas and Chouhan. Yuvraj gained 25 spots to finish fourth at 14-under 274, which took his season’s earnings to Rs. 67,39,568.
The 26-year-old Gandas, who set the course record of 63 on day one, had a mixed start to round four with birdie-bogey on the first two holes. But Gandas began to find his groove with birdies on the third and fifth, where a terrific approach shot and a brilliant chip left him tap-in putts. Gandas then sank birdie putts from a range of seven to 10 feet on the eighth and ninth to lead by five shots at the turn over nearest rival Chouhan.
Gandas, who has six career titles on the PGTI, then hit a poor approach and missed a short putt on the 10th to drop a double-bogey. Just as Chouhan got within two shots of Gandas, the latter resurrected his round with birdies on the 14th and 15th thanks to his sharp chipping and putting. Gandas finally saw it home in style with birdies on the last two holes including a monster 45-feet conversion on the 18th.
“I took one shot at a time and stayed in the present. I had a bad start on the back-nine but was steady thereafter and set up a lot of birdie opportunities for myself. Overall, it was a solid round barring a couple of mistakes,” Gandas said.
“I tend to get a bit aggressive as the round progresses but I managed to keep that tendency in check. I kept my composure well,” he said.
“I kept the intensity going after I got my first birdie on the back-nine. I’m quite pleased with the records added to my name but my focus is more on taking my game to the next level. This win gives me the momentum for the final two events of the season. It was an amazing experience playing here at the world-class Vooty Golf County for the first time. The course conditions were immaculate. I thank the Dream Valley Group for supporting this event.”
Chouhan made six birdies on a day he went error-free. He was briefly in contention on the back-nine when he got within two shots of the lead.
Shamim Khan made nine birdies and a bogey during his outstanding 64. Sandhu’s extraordinary 63 featured an eagle on the 16th, eight birdies and a bogey.
The Chandigarh duo of Abhijit Singh Chadha (65) and Angad Cheema (76) claimed fifth place at 13-under 275.
Chandigarh’s Ajeetesh Sandhu finished tied 34th at three-under 285.
Fifteen-year-old Noida-based amateur Aarav D Shah, an Australian national, took the trophy for the best performing amateur after he too ended the week in tied 34th place.