India's Jyoti Randhawa lifted the US $400,000 Hero Honda Indian Open for the second time in his career when he returned to the Delhi Golf Club to defeat compatriot S S P Chowrasia in a sudden-death play-off early on Monday morning.
Randhawa made a solid birdie four on the 18th hole against Chowrasia's par to triumph on what was the second play-off hole. The pair had been unable to complete the play-off on Sunday evening due to darkness.
It was a case of redemption for Randhawa, who missed a four feet putt on the first extra hole late on Sunday, which would have won him the title. India's Vijay Kumar had also been involved on the first extra hole but dropped out after hitting his tee shot into the trees.
"I am very pleased with the way I came back and won today. It was nerve-wracking missing that putt on the 18th last night. I stood over that putt and was thinking that this is the putt to win the Open and that was enough to cause me to miss it. I thought of winning a golf tournament and did not think about the putt," said Randhawa.
The 34-year-old Randhawa revealed that he had an almost sleepless night thinking about his miss.
He said: "I went back and thought about it and figured out what went wrong; I only slept three of four hours last night."
The victory, worth US $63,400, meant Randhawa maintained his tremendous track record at the Delhi Golf Club, where he won the Hero Honda Masters in 1998 and 1999 and the Indian Open in 2000, which was also in a play-off. The win also pushed Randhawa up to 14th position on the Asian Tour's UBS Order of Merit.
"This victory was the most difficult of all as there was a lot of pressure on me. In my previous victories, such as when I won here in 2000, there was no expectation on me. I was an up and coming golfer then. Now there is much more pressure on me. I am very proud and honored to have won the Open again," said Randhawa.
On the par-five 18th hole, Randhawa reached the front of the green in two following a four iron second shot. He then stroked the ball perfectly with his putter from 40 feet to within three feet.
Chowrasia, a 28-year old rookie on the Asian Tour, was just short of the green in two. He chipped to 12 feet but saw his putt slip by.
"Chowrasia is a new kid on the block. He has a great attitude and is a great golfer with a very good golf swing. I think he has a great future and has a lot of years left in him. I am happy that I beat him. He definitely will win the Indian Open one day," said Randhawa.
The Indian has now won six times on the Asian Tour. It was his first success since the Volvo Masters of Asia in 2004. He said working on a more relaxed approach to the game is helping him hugely.
"The more mentally involved you are, the more disturbed you are. I am learning to take a second to hit a golf shot and get on with it, enjoy the walk and smell the flowers," he added.
With the triumph, Randhawa booked his spot for the HSBC Champions tournament in November in China.
Chowrasia is a multiple winner on Indian PGA Tour but today's cheque of US $33,900 was far and away the biggest pay day of his career.
"I was relaxed out there. I am happy with the way I played. I know that my chance will come. I did not get tense and I slept well. In fact my roommate, Rafiq Ali was saying that he could not sleep, but I slept nicely," said Chowrasia, who shares second place with Kumar.
The performance made amends for his mishap in the Mercuries Taiwan Masters in September, where he led by three shots after two rounds but was disqualified for not signing his scorecard. He is sponsored by Royal Calcutta Golf Club, where his father was the green keeper. He grew up living by one of the greens where he honed a magnificent short game that has earned him the nickname "Chipandputtasia".
Leading final round scores:
270 - Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 69-67-64-70, Vijay Kumar (IND) 66-68-70-66, S.S.P. Chowrasia (IND) 69-65-67-69 (Randhawa won on second hole of sudden-death play-off)
271 - Simon Dyson (ENG) 68-67-68-68
276 - Mukesh Kumar (IND) 70-68-66-72, Prom Meesawat (THA) 68-68-68-72
277 - Suk Jong-Yul (KOR) 67-73-68-69, Unho Park (AUS) 70-65-69-73, Gaurav Ghei (IND) 71-68-65-73
279 - Chiragh Kumar [A] (IND) 69-69-74-67, Scott Strange (AUS) 67-73-67-72
280 - Mark Mouland (WAL) 71-70-68-71, Muhammed Munir (PAK) 70-69-69-72, Rahil Gangjee (IND) 71-66-69-74
281 - Terry Pilkadaris (AUS) 69-69-70-73
282 - Rick Gibson (CAN) 68-73-71-70, Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 76-66-68-72, Vivek Bhandari (IND) 68-71-70-73
283 - Mahal Pearce (NZL) 70-69-71-73, Park Jun-Won (KOR) 72-65-72-74
284 - David Gleeson (AUS) 71-74-69-70, Somkiat Srisanga (THA) 74-70-69-71, Shamim Khan (IND) 70-73-70-71, Michael Wright (AUS) 67-73-72-72, Shiv Kapur (IND) 74-67-69-74, Digvijay Singh (IND) 71-72-67-74, Chris Rodgers (ENG) 73-71-65-75
285 - Simon Dunn (SCO) 66-77-71-71, Yasin Ali (ENG) 69-73-71-72, Matt Holten (NZL) 73-67-69-76286 - Richard Moir (AUS) 75-70-72-69, Gerald Rosales (PHI) 69-71-70-76
287 - Lu Wei-Lan (TPE) 79-67-70-71, Scott Barr (AUS) 73-72-70-72, Pat Giles (AUS) 70-73-72-72, Brad Iles (NZL) 67-74-73-73, Mike Cunning (USA) 73-71-69-74, Harinder Gupta (IND) 70-69-74-74, Clay Devers (USA) 71-71-71-74.