Patna’s Aman Raj closed out the week with a stoic final round effort of one-over 73 to bag the Gujarat Open Golf Championship 2023 title at a tournament total of 11-under 277 at the Kalhaar Blues & Greens Golf Club in Ahmedabad.
The 27-year-old Aman (66-68-70-73), who was at the top of the leaderboard from the first round till the end, thus emerged wire-to-wire winner at the Rs. 1 crore event. The win, Aman’s second, pushed him up from 11th to second position in the TATA Steel PGTI Rankings after he took home the winning prize purse of Rs. 15,00,000.
Bengaluru-based rookie Aryan Roopa Anand (71-69-69-69), the 2023 PGTI Q School winner who playing only his second event as a professional, finished a creditable second at 10-under 278 following a last round of 69 to continue his fine form and move up from 23rd to sixth spot in the PGTI’s merit list.
Local lad Anshul Patel (66-71-67-76), playing at his home course, shot a fourth round of 76 to end tied third at eight-under 280 along with Faridabad’s Abhinav Lohan (70-72-70-68).
Aman Raj, the overnight joint leader along with Anshul Patel, had a poor start with bogeys on the first two holes where he missed up and downs. Aman, who won his only previous title in 2018, then didn’t hit it close enough to the pins to set up birdies but kept believing in himself and did not drop a shot as he also made some god par saves with a number of two-putts. His only birdie came on the 12th.
Aman, who was recovering from a bout of food poisoning on Saturday morning, finally crossed the line courtesy his determined approach and a patient display on the greens.
Aman said, “I wasn’t feeling too well this morning as I had food poisoning last evening. But I was still swinging it well. I missed a number of birdie opportunities not hitting it close to the pins but I made a lot of good two-putts and hung in there. I was expecting three to four birdies today but then I just told myself to keep the lead till the end and not make any errors.
“My experience told me to just keep it on the fairway and green and give myself chances. I kept believing in myself. It was a relief to get the job done finally.”
Aryan Roopa Anand, who was overnight third and five shots off the lead, produced six birdies and three bogeys on the final day to follow up his 10th place finish in Kolkata with another top-notch result in Ahmedabad. The 21-year-old Aryan made three long conversions on Saturday and his last birdie came on the 13th.
Aryan said, “I’m very pleased with the good start to my pro career, having posted top-10s in my first two events and being in contention today. I’m happy to have given Aman and Anshul a run for their money in the final round.
“These good performances have helped me seal my card for next year so that’s something I don’t need to worry about now. I can now focus on raising my game further.”
Abhinav Lohan’s 68 was the best round of the day and saw him rise from tied seventh to tied third. Anshul Patel, on the other hand, slipped two spots from his overnight joint lead.
Delhi’s Sachin Baisoya, who finished tied 17th at two-over 290, continues to lead the TATA Steel PGTI Rankings.
Ahmedabad’s Varun Parikh closed the week in tied 24th at six-over 294.
Noida-based 15-year-old Aarav D Shah was the best performing amateur. The Australian national ended tied 48th at 13-over 301.
Prize Presentation Picture Caption: Aman Raj (centre) receives the winning cheque and trophy from Mr. Devang Shah, MD, Navratna Group (left) and Mr. Uttam Singh Mundy, CEO, PGTI (right)