Max Kieffer of Germany made his first-ever visit to India memorable by edging out Rahil Gangjee in the first play-off hole to win the Gujarat Kensville Challenge in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
At the beautiful but very demanding Kensville Course, which has been designed by Col KD Bagga and carries Jeev Milkha Singh's signature, Gangjee (71) and Kieffer (70) finished the regulation four rounds tied at seven-under 281.
In the play-off, Kieffer's drive went to the right of the fairway, just short of the bunker, but Gangjee's went into the edge of the bunker.
Kieffer hit his second to the green to about 40 feet and Gangjee's 5-iron second shot hit the lip of the bunker and bounced into the stream virtually ending his hopes.
Gangjee chipped his fourth to 20 feet, while two-putted for six. Kieffer safely two putted from 40 feet for par and won his maiden European Challenge Tour title.
Earlier with four holes to go, Gangjee was three clear of the field and seemed to have sewn up the title. But on the home stretch, Gangjee faltered and allowed Kieffer to come back. The young German grabbed his chance and got into a play-off and then won the title.
Gangjee (71), one clear of the field at the start ended regulation play, finished at seven-under 281, while Kieffer made up the one-shot deficit with which he had started. His 70 brought him to 281 and off they into the play-off.
It was a tense battle right till the end of regulation play after which Gangjee gave it was away with a shot that he would otherwise have accomplished 99 out of 100 times -- a bunker shot from the edge, which in this case hit the lip and went into the stream ahead, dashing all his hopes of ending an eight-year title drought.
Kieffer won a cheque of Euros 32,000 which was presented to him by Sameer Sinha, Jaxay Shah and Jigesh Shah of the Savvy Group. Gangjee received Euros 22,000.