Golf: Chouhan's fabulous 65 earns him first international title at Duncan Taylor Black Bull Challenge
Om Prakash Chouhan showed nerves of steel, firing a seven-under 65 on the final day to earn his first international title at the USD 300,000 Duncan Taylor Black Bull Challenge.
India's Om Prakash Chouhan showed nerves of steel, firing a seven-under 65 on the final day to earn his first international title at the USD 300,000 Duncan Taylor Black Bull Challenge on Sunday.
The 36-year-old finished two shots ahead of the rest of the field much to the delight of the home crowd at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) golf course.
Chouhan (70-67-66-65), who hails from Mhow in Madhya Pradesh, fired the last day's best score to total 20-under 268 for the week while joint runners-up Ashley Chesters (67-68-68-67) of England and Victor Pastor (72-64-67-67) of Spain had a tally of 18-under 270.
Aman Raj (67-68-71-70) took tied eighth place at 12-under 276 to finish as the second Indian in the top-10 at the event co-sanctioned by the European Challenge Tour and PGTI.
Chouhan's eighth professional win helped him secure his Challenge Tour card and claim his biggest ever prize money cheque of USD 48,000 (Rs 39,84,000) that in turn catapulted him from 16th to first position in the TATA Steel PGTI Rankings with season's earnings of Rs 44,52,750.
Among the other notable records set on Sunday, Chouhan became the third Indian to win on the Challenge Tour following the likes of Gaganjeet Bhullar (won in 2011) and Shiv Kapur (won two titles in 2013).
It was also the first win by an Indian on Indian soil since Khalin Joshi’s triumph at the Panasonic Open India in October 2018. Chouhan also equalled Udayan Mane's 2017 record for the lowest winning total at KGA.
Chouhan, a winner of seven PGTI titles in the past, saved his best round for the last day as he went error-free with three birdies on the front-nine and four more on the back-nine.
On the front-nine, Chouhan hit his wedges close on a couple of occasions to pick up birdies and also made a great par save on the fifth after finding the water hazard. After a birdie on the 12th and salvaging a good par on the 14th, Chouhan sank a crucial 10-feet birdie conversion on the 15th to draw level with Ashley Chesters who was the leader for most part of the day.
Chouhan then extracted a birdie from a tough position on the 17th as he drained another long putt. An unruffled Chouhan, who turned pro in 2002, finally saw it home in style with a 10-feet birdie conversion on the 18th.
"I'm thrilled. It's a huge achievement for me as I had never won an international title previously. I definitely have plans to play on the Challenge Tour in Europe now. This win opens a lot of doors for me," Chouhan said.
"I just wanted to focus on my strengths and my game and not drop any shots. I had targeted a seven-under at the start of the round. I've worked a lot on the mental aspect of my game lately. That has brought a lot of improvement in my game. In the past, if I dropped shots or made mistakes early in the round, I would generally start playing more aggressively. But now, I don't let the errors affect my game too much."
Ashley Chesters (67) had a bogey-free day while Victor Pastor (67) made six birdies and a bogey as the duo couldn’t catch up with Chouhan in the final stages. M Dharma (70), playing at his home course, finished tied 21st with a total of nine-under 279.