Home Sports Ajeetesh, Jaini finish third and fourth at Sail Open golf

Ajeetesh, Jaini finish third and fourth at Sail Open golf


New Delhi : The title eluded the Indian contingent but young Ajeetesh Sandhu and Manav Jaini produced a fine finale to finish third and fourth, respectively, at the $300,000 SAIL Open at the challenging Delhi Golf Club Friday.

Sandhu (70) was 14-under 274, two shots behind Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, who birdied the last hole to win his first Asian Tour title.

Thailand’s burly Kiradech returned with four-under-par 68 for a four-day total of 16-under-par 272 to defeat overnight leader Mohammad Siddikur of Bangladesh by one stroke.

Apart from Ajeetesh who was third, India also saw Jaini in fourth and Anirban Lahiri in sixth place, while seasoned Jyoti Randhawa was seventh. There were six other Indians in the fray, including Gaganjeet Bhullar (tied 12th) and Rahil Gangjee (tied 16th).

The 22-year-old Ajeetesh made a big charge for the title, before a bogey on the 16th saw him drop to third. Jaini finished one stroke behind at the event co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGTI.

Ajeetesh, who missed the halfway cut in the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage in Thailand earlier this year, turned in 34 before adding a pair of birdies and bogeys to finish two strokes behind the champion. He hopes his strong finish this week will spur him on to better performances this year.

“This is a good finish for me and it will be a confidence booster for my career. I gave it my all out there but the bogey on 16 spoiled my card,” said Sandhu, who honed his skills at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy in the United States from 2005 to 2007.

Jaini, who had contended for the Indian Open at the same venue last December, said, “I gave it all, but I suppose I just go a bit further. Still I am happy with a top-five finish.”

Kiradech, 21, turned in 35 before posting birdies on holes 10, 12 and 14. He was level with Siddikur after dropping a shot on hole 16 and admitted to feeling nervous when he stepped up to sink the winning putt from three feet.

“The putt on the last was very near but my hand was shaking! I’m just happy I won. I’ve waited two years for this and I’m very proud of myself,” said Kiradech, who dropped on his knees after sinking the winning putt. He won $47,550.

Siddikur, the first Bangladeshi to win on the Asian Tour, was in the hunt for his second Asian Tour title but struggled with his irons as he returned with two birdies against one bogey in a round of 71.

“Overall, I enjoyed my round and losing is part of the game. I’m getting better and my confidence level is still high. Kiradech played really good and deserved the win. It was his day,” said Siddikur, who could have forced a play-off if he birdied the last hole but saw his title aspirations faded when his tee shot landed in the rough.

“The last hole is quite an easy hole and I could have forced a play-off if I birdied that hole. I only made par and that caused me the title,” he added.

Leading fourth round scores
272 – Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 68-67-69-68
273 – Siddikur (BAN) 68-67-67-71
274 – Ajeetesh Sandhu (IND) 69-67-68-70
275 – Manav Jaini (IND) 68-73-64-70
276 – Akinori Tani (JPN) 68-67-70-71
278 – Anirban Lahiri (IND) 66-71-72-69
279 – Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 70-72-68-69
280 – Namchok Tantipokhakul (THA) 72-69-67-72, Joonas Granberg (FIN) 69-73-69-69, Daisuke Kataoka (JPN) 73-69-69-69