Mar 24, 2018: Sri Lankan N Thangaraja came up with a classic six-under-66 in round four of the BDT 50.00 lac City Bank American Express Chittagong Open 2018 to cruise to a thumping six-shot win. Thangaraja, the overnight leader by two shots, bagged his third PGTI title as he ended the week with a record total of 22-under-266 at the magnificent Bhatiary Golf & Country Club (BGCC) on Saturday.
India’s Veer Ahlawat carded a three-under-69 on the final day to finish runner-up at 16-under-272.
Among the Bangladeshi golfers, Md Sajib Ali had the best finish as he clinched fifth place with a total of 11-under-277.
N Thangaraja (65-67-68-66), who was in contention in the last two PGTI events before slipping on the final day on both occasions, managed to set the record straight this time around.
The 36-year-old Thangaraja didn’t look in any trouble from the very start as he sank birdies on the third and sixth to extend his lead to three shots on the front-nine. He then went on to tighten his grip on the title with four more birdies on the back-nine. Thanga thus signed off with a bogey-free effort.
Thanga, who won his first title on the PGTI after a gap of three years, has now moved up from 11th to first position on the PGTI Order of Merit. Incidentally, the Colombo resident’s 22-under-266 total is the lowest ever winning score achieved at the BGCC. The previous best was Siddikur’s 16-under-272 at the inaugural City Bank American Express Chittagong Open last year.
Thangaraja, whose 66 was the day’s joint best score, said, “I’m just delighted that I kept my focus and got the job done unlike the previous two events where I missed out on converting my opportunities in the final stages. It’s great to win a title after such a long gap and that too with my best ever four-round total of 22-under. This really lifts my confidence for the rest of the season. I’m glad that I’ve come back well after recovering from my knee injury.
“A strong front-nine today which featured a chip-in birdie on the sixth set up the win for me. I played steady, was patient and didn’t get too ahead of myself. I hit it quite close through the day. I had set myself a target of 22-under at the start of the day and was quite satisfied to achieve it.
“I would like to thank my wife for all her support and advice through the week. I would also like to thank fellow professional Shiv Kapur for gifting me his driver which has really worked wonders for me. I extend my thanks to good friend and fellow professional Mithun Perera who gave me his putter which also helped me raise my game.
“I really enjoyed playing at the BGCC and look forward to coming back to this top-class venue next year,” added Thanga, who now has three top-5 finishes from five starts in the 2018 PGTI season.
Veer Ahlawat (69-66-68-69), who was overnight third, fired a last round 69 to gain one position and claim second place. He had a promising start with two birdies on the first three holes but thereafter could manage only three more birdies at the expense of two bogeys. Ahlawat’s fourth top-10 in his fifth event this season took him from 16th to second position on the PGTI Order of Merit.
India’s Aman Raj (65-68-69-72), lying second after the third round, slipped out of contention early on the final day when he made a quadruple bogey on the second. He then fought back with six birdies against two bogeys to put up a 72 on the board and end up in third place. Dhaka lad Md Sajib Ali finished an impressive fifth despite shooting a 73 on day four.