Ashok wins Color Plus Open golf title


Gurgaon : Ashok Kumar grabbed his fifth title of the season as he carded a three-under 69 to win the Color Plus Open golf tournament at the Golden Greens Golf Resort here Sunday.

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Ashok, who turns 26 next month, took his aggregate to 18-under 270 to defeat young Gaganjeet Bhullar (66) by two shots. Bhullar who shot a bogey-free final round was 16-under after two rounds 66 each on the weekend.

Digvijay Singh (69), who looked like giving Ashok a run for his money with an early charge, was done in by three bogeys in a row from 12th to 14th and that took the sting away from his challenge.

Singh ended third at 14-under, while seasoned campaigners Gaurav Ghei (69) and S.S.P. Chowrasia (69) tied for fourth 13-under. Mukesh Kumar, who dominated the Indian domestic golf tour till the arrival of young guns like Ashok, shot a final round of 68 and climbed to sixth place.

"I missed a lot of putts out there," said Ashok. "But I am happy that I was able to hold on and win. Digvijay and Gaganjeet were both playing very well, especially Gaganjeet."

Talking of his season, he added: "It has been fantastic after a little bit of uncertainty. Now that the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) has a lot of money and good competition, I am sure we will see some great golf."

Ashok has won more than Rs.4.4 million in prize money this year.

It was the fifth title of the 2006-07 PGTI season for Ashok, who had already won the Indian Oil Xtra Premium Masters, Solaris Global, SRF All India Matchplay Crompton Greaves Open.

Apart from winning five of his last seven events, he was second and eighth in the remaining two – both won by Jyoti Randhawa.

Ashok opened with a birdie on second but dropped a shot on fourth before picking birdies on fifth and eighth. He turned in 34 and then on back nine, he birdied 11th and 15th and dropped a bogey on 17th, but by then he was comfortably ahead.

Bhullar needed two make-up shots on last two holes, but he managed only pars on 17th and the par-five 18th and fell short by two.

Digvijay was somewhat disappointed. "I started well and I was set to make a good challenge. I had two birdies and an eagle in first five holes," he said.

"I had a couple of other chances, but then I got another in 11th at which stage I was five-under for the day and 16-under and just two behind Ashok. But then came a series of three-putts and the chance was gone."

Digvijay blew the chance when he bogeyed the 12th and then three-putted 13th and 14th for three dropped shots in as many holes. He got one back on 18th, but it was too late.

Bhullar sowed why he is the young man to watch out for. After starting with a 71 on first day, he shot 69 and was then on fire on last two days with 66-66.

"I was very happy with my hitting. It is my first season and I am still learning," he said.

C. Muniyappa (69) was seventh at nine-under 279, while Harinder Gupta (67) was eighth at eight-under and Arjun Singh (71) was ninth at seven-under and veteran Shiv Prakash (73) was 10th at five-under.

Asian Tour stars Gurbaaz Mann (70) and Rahil Gangjee (71) were 15th and tied 17th, respectively.

Montek Mayal (75) was the top amateur at 13-over 301 and Jagmohan Singh Gill (79) was next best at 19-over 307.