SSP Chawrasia Invitational: Manu Gandas records sixth win of season

Gurugram’s Manu Gandas recorded his sixth win of the season with the inaugural SSP Invitational title at Royal Calcutta Golf Club

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Updated: 17 December, 2022 6:38 pm IST
Manu Gandas won the title at the iconic Royal Calcutta Golf Club on Saturday

Gurugram’s Manu Gandas continued with his dominant display as he recorded his sixth win of the season with a two-stroke win at the inaugural SSP Chawrasia Invitational in Kolkata.

Gandas’ (69-66-72-68) sensational victory, also his seventh career win, came after he posted a solid four-under 68 in round four that saw him finish with a total of 13-under 275 at the iconic Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC).

Gandas held off the challenge of two Indian golfing legends, Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar, who finished second and third, respectively.

Gandas’ triumph at the season’s penultimate Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) event earned him the winning cheque worth ₹15,00,000 and helped him climb from second to the first spot in the PGTI Rankings.

Anirban Lahiri (71-65-71-70), who was the third-round joint leader along with Gandas, took the runner-up spot at 11-under 277 following his last round of 70.

Gaganjeet Bhullar (69-72-67-71) produced a final round of 71 to claim third place at nine-under 279.

SSP Chawrasia, the tournament’s host, finished tied 21st at three-over 291. He was the highest-placed among the Kolkata-based professionals.

Chandigarh’s Yuvraj Singh Sandhu secured a tied 25th place at four-over 292 and, as a result, slipped from the first to the second position in the PGTI Rankings.

Gandas began with a couple of good up-and-down birdies on the first and fourth, while Anirban Lahiri kept pace with him by also sinking birdies on both those holes. Gandas then began to pull away with two more birdies on the fifth and ninth, where he drained putts from a range of seven to 12 feet.

After both the top contenders made birdies on the 12th, the turning point came on the 13th, where Lahiri dropped a double-bogey by missing the green with his chip-putt while Gandas made a brilliant par-save with an incredible chip that led to a tap-in.

Gandas moved into a comfortable five-shot lead with a birdie on the 15th. He finally closed the day with bogeys on the 17th and 18th but still managed to edge out Lahiri, who had a birdie on the 17th, by two shots.

“I’m happy that I was able to perform the way I wanted to. It’s great to have my sixth win of the season, which is a record on the PGTI, but I’m just looking to continue doing what I do well and not thinking too much about the records,” Gandas said about his record-breaking performance.

“I stuck to my plans through the week and converted a lot of chances, so it was a satisfying performance. My drives and my putting stood out this week,” the 26-year-old said while talking about his plans.

Sharing his experience of playing with two of Indian golf’s biggest names, Gandas said, “It was a memorable experience to play alongside two of Indian golf’s biggest names, Anirban and Gaganjeet. They’ve played in the most elite fields across the world. But today I didn’t think too much about who I was playing with. Instead, I only focused on controlling my own game, and I did that well.”

Gaganjeet Bhullar picked up three birdies on the first 10 holes to keep himself in the hunt. He then slipped out of contention after trading three bogeys for a birdie between the 12th and the 18th.

The SSP Chawrasia Invitational, the last full-field event of the season, decided the top 60 who earned exemptions on the PGTI for next season and also cut the season-ending Tour Championship in Jamshedpur next week. The season-ending event will feature a limited field.

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