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Kochi, 07 Mar 2015

Mukesh Kumar reserves best for the last to win PGTI Cochin Masters presented by CIAL Golf & Country Club by two-shot margin, climbs to top of Rolex Rankings

Rahil Gangjee and Shubhankar Sharma are joint runners-up

The seasoned Mukesh Kumar of Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, brought all his experience to the fore to bag the PGTI Cochin Masters presented by CIAL Golf & Country Club 2015. Mukesh fired a sizzling six-under-66 in round four to finish with a winning total of 14-under-274, two shots ahead of Kolkata’s Rahil Gangjee and last year’s champion Shubhankar Sharma of the DLF Golf & Country Club, Gurgaon. Mukesh’s win at the Rs. 55 lakh event has now helped him climb from third place to first position in the Rolex Rankings.  

Mukesh Kumar (71-71-66-66) posted a second straight 66 on Saturday to win his first title in two years. The 49-year-old Mukesh, who was the overnight joint leader, was quick off the blocks in round four as he set up two tap-in birdies on the first two holes thanks to a couple of accurate approach shots. Mukesh, a winner of over 100 titles in India, followed up his good start with a 25-feet birdie conversion on the fifth. His only bogey of the day came on the eighth where he found the hazard with his tee shot.

The veteran gathered momentum with two short-range birdie putts on the 10th and 13th. Mukesh then made a crucial chip-in for birdie on the 16th to stay neck and neck with closest competitor Rahil Gangjee. There was a two-shot swing in favour of Mukesh on the 17th when he landed his tee shot just two feet from the pin for another birdie. Rahil dropped a stroke on the same hole. Mukesh finally marched towards his 16th title on the PGTI with a 12-feet conversion for par on the 18th after recovering well from the bushes.

Mukesh took home the winner’s cheque of Rs. 8,25,000 which pushed him up from third to first in the Rolex Rankings. He has a record 16 wins on the PGTI, the most by any player on the tour. 

Mukesh said, “I’m delighted to finally win an event after two years. I last won at Chandigarh in February 2013. I came close on several occasions since then but could not finish it. In fact, I finished runner-up in the first two events of 2015 and then missed the cut in Hyderabad last week. This is my biggest win in terms of prize money. It’s also a highly satisfying victory because the field was very strong with the likes of Gaganjeet Bhullar, Rahil Gangjee and Chikkarangappa participating. I needed this win to prove to myself that I can still compete with the best in India and give the youngsters a run for their money.

He added, “Rahil was hitting the ball better than me but my experience helped me come through today. The 16th and 17th was the turning point today. The chip-in on the 16th kept me in the game and then I hit that fabulous tee shot on the 17th to go ahead. I hit some really good wedge shots today to set up a few birdies. This win is a huge morale-booster and I’ll look to build on it in the rest of the season.”
   
Rahil Gangjee (72-71-65-68), who was in the joint lead along with Mukesh after round three, made birdies on the first three holes for the second day running courtesy some long putts. He added three more birdies and a bogey to his card over the next 13 holes to stay in contention. But a three-putt from 30 feet on the 17th turned out to be decisive as it led to a bogey for Rahil and handed Mukesh a two-shot lead. 

Shubhankar Sharma (69-68-73-66), who was overnight fifth, also mounted a challenge with a bogey-free 66 on the final day. However, he fell just short at the end and claimed tied second position along with Gangjee.

Khalin Joshi of Bangalore and Sri Lankan Anura Rohana secured tied fourth place at nine-under-279 while Chikkarangappa, another Bangalorean, was a further two shots behind in sixth place.

Gaganjeet Bhullar shot a final round of eight-over-80 to be tied 19th at one-over-289.

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Formed in 2006, Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) is the recognised official body of professional golf in India. PGTI's objective is to promote professional golf in the country, as well as to give players an opportunity to be involved in the decision making on all aspects of the game. Headed by Mr. Gautam Thapar (President), PGTI's governing body comprises leading Indian golf professionals. PGTI currently has over 300 members.

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