Jaipur, 20 Jun 2014

Akshay Sharma’s timely eagle helps him clinch a playoff victory against Rahul Bajaj in Jaipur

Akshay lands his first title

Chandigarh’s Akshay Sharma landed his first ever title in scintillating fashion at the PGTI Feeder Tour event played at the Rambagh Golf Club in Jaipur. The 23-year-old produced a well-timed eagle to beat Rahul Bajaj of Noida on the second playoff hole.

Akshay Sharma (70-69-67) and Rahul Bajaj (67-73-66) went into the playoff having ended the regulation 54 holes with the joint best tournament totals of four-under-206.

Sharma, who was overnight tied fifth, began the day with four pars before picking up birdies on the fifth and eighth thanks to some good drives. He then hit a rough patch as he bogeyed the ninth and 10th. The Chandigarh lad came back strongly by converting a crucial 35-footer for birdie on the 16th and following that up with two brilliant drives to set up birdies on the 17th and 18th as well.

Akshay’s inspiring hat-trick of birdies on the last three holes helped him end up with a three-under-67 for the day that resulted in a playoff between him and Rahul Bajaj. The two players made pars on the first playoff hole, before Sharma finally sealed the title with a 20-feet eagle conversion on the second playoff hole.  

Akshay, who finished fourth on the Feeder Tour Order of Merit last year, said, “It’s an unbelievable feeling to win my first title and that too with an eagle in the playoff. It’s a dream finish for me. I’ve come close on a few occasions in the past but finally getting a win under my belt is a big confidence-booster for me. I drove the ball really well today to set up quite a few birdies. My putting was also much better than the first two days. I just got on a roll after the long birdie putt on the 16th.

“Interestingly, I had finished runner-up to Rahul Bajaj on the Feeder Tour at this very venue two years back after having lead by three strokes at the turn on the final day.

“I would like to thank my coach Mr. Jesse Grewal for his guidance and the Chandigarh Golf Club for providing me with a new golf set recently. I would also like to thank my fellow professionals and seniors on the tour Ajeetesh Sandhu, Sujjan Singh, Gurbaaz Mann and Shamim Khan who have all helped and supported me from the time I turned professional,” said Sharma, who has now taken the lead in the Feeder Tour Order of Merit for 2014.

Rahul Bajaj, a winner at the Feeder Tour event in Jaipur in 2012, posted his best score of the week, a four-under-66, in round three. Bajaj, who was overnight tied eighth, emerged as a strong contender with four birdies and a bogey on the front-nine but could not drive home the advantage as he added just one more birdie on the back-nine.

Rajesh Kumar Rawat of Lucknow finished third at three-under-207 while local favourite Vishal Singh was a further shot behind in tied fourth along with Manoj Kumar, another Lucknow golfer.

Chandigarh’s K Raghav Bhandari signed the best card of the week, a five-under-65, to secure sixth place at one-under-209.

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