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Dodt wins Avantha Masters; Gangjee tied 14th

February 14, 2010 17:23 IST

Rahil Gangjee came agonizingly close to winning the Avantha Masters before tumbling down the leaderboard and finishing tied 14th in the elite US $2.1 million tri-sanctioned event in Gurgaon on Sunday.

Two years ago, an unheralded SSP Chowrasia, albeit at the Delhi Golf Club, had stunned a star-studded field -- Ernie Els included -- to walk away with the Indian Masters.

Another Kolkata pro was on the cusp of achieving a similar feat, but the hitherto consistent Gangjee developed cold feet towards the end and could not withstand the nerve-wrecking drama as he lost four shots over his last five holes and finished with a tournament total of nine-under 279.

Gangjee's fortunes fluctuated at the DLF Golf and Country Club, which witnessed immense drama as the Indian pro grabbed sole lead midway through his final round, gamely hung onto it for a while and then lost the plot towards the end.

He had a chance to bounce back but the title slipped through his finger with the three-putt on the 16th hole. The chirpy golfer could not bridge the gap between the cup and the lip but his exploits were enough to earn him Euro 21,600.

Australia's Andrew Dodt's (274) final round of four-under 68 earned him his maiden European Tour title. The 24-year-old Asian Tour regular finished one shot ahead of England's Richard Finch.

Scot David Drysdale, Japan's Tetsuji Hiratsuka, England's Richard Bland and veteran Barry Lane –- who was hoping to become the oldest European Tour winner in history at 49 –- finished a shot further back on 12-under.

With Gangjee part of the magnificent seven that went into the final round with a slender lead, the course was abuzz in anticipation of an Indian fairytale, which didn't eventually happen.

Gangjee initally looked his relaxed self, completing the front nine in a businessman-like seriousness. The sixth hole birdie in this bogey-free stretch put him one-under at the turn and things brightened up further on his way back.

The 10th hole birdie was greeted with no less joy as it put him in sole lead, much to the delight of the sparse crowd that has been trailing him under an unforgiving sun.

Gangjee parred the next three holes to stay at top but by then, an ominous looking Richard Finch had completed his dazzling final round of six-under 66 to join him at 13-under.

The crowd had no hint of the impending disappointment as Gangjee's incredible 51-hole bogey-free run in the tournament finally came to an end on the par-five 14th and the local favourite could only watch haplessly as the lead slipped through his finger.

Gangjee was not in his elements thereafter, signing off with three bogeys on the trot. His shoulders drooped and concentration wavered and he was heard murmuring in disgust as things gradually went beyond his control.

Among other Indians in fray, Jyoti Randhawa (280) signed off with a modest two-under 70 for the tied 18th place, five shots ahead of Arjun Atwal (73) and Digvijay Singh (70) at tied 38th.

Domestic stalwart Ashok Kumar (287) came tied 52nd after carding 70.

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