It was an exciting finish with a third extra playoff hole needed for the very first time in PGTI history to settle the winner. It was Karandeep Kochhar’s second win on the trot.
Chandigarh-based golfer Karandeep Kochhar upset Olympian Anirban Lahiri after a dramatic playoff to clinch the third edition of the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational golf tournament at the Chandigarh Golf Club course on Monday.
Karandeep Kochhar, the nephew of Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra, had also won the last Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) event – the PGTI Players Championship – at the same venue last month.
The 21-year-old Kochhar made a shambolic start at the event, carding a four-over 76 in the first round but came roaring back with 66, 67 and 68 in the next three. He finished the regulation rounds tied-first with a total of 11-under 277.
Kochhar, however, could have finished at 12-under and won the event outright if not for a one-stroke penalty he incurred at the end of regulation play for accidentally causing the ball to move on the 17th hole.
Anirban Lahiri, a two-time European Tour and seven-time Asian Tour winner, meanwhile, held a steady pace throughout the event and carded the same total as Kochhar (70-68-70-69), forcing a playoff for the title.
The veteran Lahiri is a 12-time winner on the PGTI but was appearing in his first event since 2014.
The two were neck-and-neck after two extra holes before play was suspended on Sunday due to fading light. On resumption on Monday, Kochhar edged out the more experienced Lahiri in the third hole to take the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational.
It was the first time in PGTI history that a third extra hole was invoked in a playoff.
“I got good advice from Jeev (Milkha Singh) sir last evening who told me to believe in myself no matter what the situation,” Kochhar said after his win.
Gurugram’s Manu Gandas and Patna’s Aman Raj both scored 10-under 278 to share the third position. Kochhar’s fellow Chandigarh golfing peer Akshay Sharma, who led the field after the second and third rounds, lost ground in the final round to finish joint-fifth with Gurugram’s Veer Ahlawat.
Among the other prominent names participating at the event, four-time European Tour winner SSP Chawrasia and PGTI Order of Merit leader Udayan Mane finished tied 13th at four-under-284.
Eight-time Asian Tour winner Jyoti Randhawa was tied 29th at two-over-290 and Gaganjeet Bhullar was tied 33rd at three-over-291 along with SSP’s nephew Sunit Chawrasia.
Tournament host Jeev Milkha Singh failed to make the cut on Friday.