Madappa becomes youngest Indian to win Asian Tour title
Bengaluru, Aug 12 (PTI) Twenty-year-old Viraj Madappa delighted the home crowd with a four-under-par 67 to claim a two-shot victory at the TAKE Solutions Masters here today, becoming the youngest Indian golfer to win on the Asian Tour.
Madappa, who came through the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January, got his big professional breakthrough at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) Golf Course here.
The earlier record was held by Gaganjeet Bhullar, who won the Indonesia Invitational, when he was 21 years and three months, while Shubhankar Sharma won Joburg Open when he was 21 years and five months old.
The win was a massive boost for Indian golf as it comes just a week after Bhullar's triumph at the Fiji International, co-sanctioned by Asian and European Tours and Rahil Ganjee's win at the Louis Philippe Cup on the Asian Development Tour in Bengaluru.
Starting the final round two shots back, Madappa reeled in six pars before dropping a shot on the seventh. He bounced back brilliantly with five birdies to cap a winning total of 16-under-par 268, while Zimbabwean Scott Vincent (68), Argentine Miguel Carballo (71) and the Thai duo of Suradit Yongcharenchai (66) and Danthai Boonma (70) shared the second place.
SSP Chawrasia (70), who at one stage went into shared lead on Sunday, finished Tied-6th alongside Honey Baisoya (70) and local hope Khalin Joshi (72), who failed on the final day with a troublesome first 10 holes, over which he dropped two bogeys and a double.
"Last night, I thought about a win, the winning putt and so much else, so I was kind of nervous," Madappa said.
"Then, to get my first pro win on the Asian Tour is a dream come true. It is yet to sink in," he added.
Madappa, who turned professional at the start of 2017, said, "My family has been very supportive. It was great to see all the kids from the academy out here today. They were all like between six to 15 years old. They were probably the loudest in the crowd. You could tell it was them in the crowd."
On his play and the energy he could feel, he said, "I was riding off their energy. Winning the tournament did cross my mind when I birdied the 16th hole but I was just trying to stay in the presence and hit every shot I could the right way. I think I did a good job there."
Madappa now has a full exemption on Asian Tour till end of 2019.
Chawrasia, who had five birdies against four bogeys, was unfortunate as his birdie putts on 14th, 15th and 16th lipped out and frustrated by that he dropped a shot on 17th and then made a mistake on 18th for another bogey.
Madappa started the final day two shots behind the leader Carballo, at 12-under and in Tied-4th place. Through the week, he has scored heavily on the back nine and today was no different.
After trading one bogey with one birdie on the front nine, Madappa holed four birdies on the rock solid back nine to complete a superb win.
He was 15-under for the back nine and was just 1-under for the front half of the course.
Chikkarangappa, like Joshi, dropped four shots early and was then trying to play catch up with three birdies on back nine. He finished ninth.
Defending champion Thailand's Poom Saksansin (66) was Tied-10th alongside with five others, one of whom was India's Om Prakash Chouhan (70)