June 22, 2018: Kapurthala lad Ashbeer Saini’s career got a new lease of life after he bagged his maiden professional title at the PGTI Feeder Tour event at the Madhuban Meadows Golf Club in Karnal, Haryana. The 24-year-old Saini, who returned a sedate one-over-71 in the final round, prevailed by three shots at nine-under-201 for a wire-to-wire victory.
Delhi’s Pawan Verma fired a three-under-67 to gain two spots and finish in second at six-under-204.
Ashbeer Saini (63-67-71), the overnight leader by five shots, had an ordinary front-nine on Friday making two birdies and two bogeys. His best effort on the outward nine was a chip-in for a terrific par-save on the fifth.
The luxury of a commanding overnight lead and the absence of any serious challenge on the final day ensured Ashbeer’s win despite his double bogey on the 13th. He finally sealed it with a superb drive that resulted in a birdie on the 15th.
Saini had joined the professional ranks in 2013 as a bright prospect after having had the distinction of being India’s leading junior and amateur golfer in the preceding years.
However, the golfer who has been inspired by his city-mate Gaganjeet Bhullar, could not achieve the desired results in his first five seasons as a professional and was also hampered by a wrist injury that he suffered in 2016.
Saini said, “This win is huge for me as it helps me finally break the victory barrier and put behind the disappointments of the past. I’ve fully recovered from my injury now and this win might just prove to be the turning point of my career.
“My game is improving with every passing event and I’ve been pretty consistent of late as is evident from my top-10 finishes in all three Feeder Tour events this season.
“My driving and putting were outstanding this week. I once again created opportunities today by landing my drives on or close to the green on almost three occasions. I feel I’m now well prepared to make an impact on the main tour,” added Ashbeer, who moved up four spots to third place on the Feeder Tour Order of Merit.
Pawan Verma (72-65-67) produced the third day’s joint best score, a 67, to bag his second runner-up finish of the season. Verma, a former winner on the Feeder Tour, thus climbed from fourth to second place on the Feeder Tour Order of Merit.
Gurugram’s Kushal Singh, who also carded the day’s joint best 67, finished tied third along with Lucknow’s Amardeep Rawat (69) at five-under-205.
Karnal’s Maniram finished tied 19th at eight-over-218.
Gurugram-based Dhruv Sheoran, winner of the first two events of the season, missed the cut at Karnal but continues to lead the money list by over Rs. 30,000 as his season’s earnings read Rs. 2,03,440.