Bengaluru: It was just his second Asian Tour title, and what could be better than a wire-to-wire victory. Poom Saksansin proved his mettle as he staved of the challenge from a valiant Khalin Joshi to emerge champion in the inaugural Take Solutions Masters here, on Sunday.
With the local crowd cheering Joshi all the way, Saksansin only had the support of his caddie, who goaded him on all the way over to the last hole as he pulled off a two-stroke victory. Both Joshi and Sakasansin turned in identical cards of four-under-67 at the KGA.
Four days ago, when the youngster from Thailand took the course not many would have bet on him. But having stayed on top of the board throughout, the 24-year-old did win hearts along with the winner’s cheque.
Starting the day with a two-stroke lead, Sakasansin kept his cool as he got off to an even par start, while Joshi began with a birdie to narrow the lead down to one-stroke. Not ready to let go easily, Sakasansin saved a stroke on the fourth to increase the gap.
It was a see-saw journey thereon, though Sakasansin never let go off the lead. Playing on his home course Joshi carded back-to-back birdies on fifth and the sixth, but that didn’t damage good friend Sakasansin’s chances as the localite dropped a stroke on the 7th and then another on the 9th.
Sakasansin yet again played a careful game except for his only bogey coming on the 15th. But he followed it up with two back-to-back birdies which saw him all but seal the deal.
Meanwhile, Joshi who started the back nine with a birdie, dropped a shot on the 14th, before saving two more on the 15th and 17th before finishing of with a birdie.
Though the win slipped away from the local boy’s grasp he did manage to notch his best ever finish on the Asian Tour, and the 24-year-old Bengalurean was happy with his performance.
“The two bogeys on the seventh and ninth cost me dearly and I probably let go there. But overall, I am happy with the way I’ve played this week.”
Sakasansin was glad to have pulled off a wire-to-wire victory. “I am glad to have won. Having been in the lead since the onset puts more pressure than rising up the ladder later. It would have been disappointing if I had not won after staying in lead all the way and Khalin did give me a slight scare. But am really happy that I pulled it of.
Local lad S Chikkarangappa, who was in contention going into the final round had a horrendous day as he carded a two-over to end tied-tenth....