Local boy Karandeep Singh Kochhar fashioned an upset as he beat the more experienced Anirban Lahiri to win the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational Golf Tournament at the Chandigarh Golf Course on Monday.
The 21 year old Kochhar had made a terrible start to the tournament, carding a four-over 76 in the first round but turned it around with 66, 67 and 68 in the next three, during a stunning comeback. He finished the regulation rounds tied-first with a total of 11-under 277.
Both Kochhar and Lahiri were involved in a cut-throat competition after two extra holes when the play was extended to Monday due to fading light on Sunday. This was the first time in the history that a PGTI event had to be extended by a day and the first time that a third extra hole was invoked in a PGTI playoff.
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The extension of the game by a day proved to be a blessing in disguise for Kochhar as he edged out Lahiri to pocket the INR 1.5 crore event.
Kochhar who began the final round at sixth place was certainly not at his best on Sunday as he incurred a one-shot penalty for accidently causing the ball to move to the 17th hole, which proved to be a crucial factor in pushing the match to a play-off.
The youngster though stayed calm and showcased some great mental strength on Monday, converting a 15-feet birdie, even as Lahiri missed a 12-foot birdie.
“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.
This is the second consecutive title for Kochhar after he bagged the PGTI Players Championship at the same venue last month. The nephew of Indian shooter Abhinav Bindra, Karandeep Kochhar gained five Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points which helped him reach to 355 in world rankings.