October 08, 2017: Ajeetesh Sandhu of India fired a two-under-par 70 to claim a dream victory at the US$500,000 Yeangder Tournament Players Championship (TPC) on Sunday.
The 28-year-old returned with a winning total of 12-under-par 276 to defeat Johannes Veerman (71) of the United States by one-shot at the Linkou International Golf and Country Club.
“I’m still shaking from the last putt but now that I’m thinking about it, it is absolutely amazing. I thought I would be a lot more nervous than what I was but after I got back to the hotel yesterday (round 3), I had so much of support from India,” said Sandhu. “So many people, including people I don’t know were messaging me. That really calmed me down.
I’m proud of myself that I was able to focus on my own my game. I was just trying to hit the next shot the best that I could and I won.”
Local star Lu Wei-chih posted a 72 to miss out on the chance to win the Yeangder TPC for the second time in his career. Lu fired four birdies against as many bogeys to claim his best result since winning the 2016 Mercuries Taiwan Masters.
Sandhu kept a cool head to romp to his first Asian Tour victory. The win was a huge lift in his career as he missed out on a Tour card at Qualifying School earlier this year.
“There were a lot of turning points. I started off really good. I didn’t birdie the first hole but I played it really well and I birdied two and three. I just played them absolutely perfect. After that I felt so comfortable. Those birdies really made me calm down,” informed Sandhu.
“I thought about the win after I hit the drive on 18 because the guys were two shots back. But then my second shot ended up in the bunker and I told myself that you can’t let that thought enter your mind. It does cross your mind but I was pretty sure I had to come back to the present.
While I was walking up the 18th hole, Johannes Veerman said to me, “Good drive man but you better birdie this hole because I’m going to eagle it.” And his chip for eagle actually hit the flag! He just looked at me and we both laughed. It was great fun playing with him.”
Sandhu made full use of this country exemption this week as he edged a battling Veerman to the title after trading three birdies against one bogey.
Veerman, also searching for a first Asian Tour victory, almost forced a play-off when his eagle chip on the 18th hole hit the pin. He settled for runner-up, the second time in his career on the Asian Tour.
Lu, who underwent a brain surgery in 2012, was disappointed to miss out on a grandstand finish when he bogeyed the par-three 17th hole due to a poor club selection.
Did you know?
- Sandhu is the 10th first-time Asian Tour winner in 2017. He is also the second player after Jazz Janewattananond to win an event without a full Tour card.
- He is the third Indian to win on the Asian Tour in 2017 and the second player from his country after Gaganjeet Bhullar to win the Yeangder TPC.
- The Yeangder TPC is the second event in Chinese Taipei which is sponsored by the Yeangder Group. Shiv Kapur won the first tournament (Yeangder Heritage) in April, completing a clean sweep for Indian golfers in Yeangder sponsored tournaments.
- Sandhu took advantage of the par-five 10th hole this week where he made four birdies. In total, he accumulated 17 birdies against five bogeys.
- With the victory Sandhu took home US$90,000 including a two-year winner’s exemption on the Asian Tour.
- Prior to this victory, Sandhu’s best results on the Asian Tour was tied third at the 2011 SAIL Open in India and 2017 TAKE Solutions Masters.
- Veerman missed out on a chance to win his first Asian Tour title. He turned in 37 and posted three birdies against one bogey. He needed an eagle on the last hole to force a play-off but his chip hit the pin.
- Lu bogeyed the second hole but recovered nicely with birdies on holes five and three. He returned with two birdies against three bogeys on his homeward nine to miss out on a chance to become only the second player after Thaworn Wiratchant to win the Yeangder TPC twice.