Feb 25, 2018: Ahmedabad-based Udayan Mane is making a habit of finishing off tournaments with clinical precision. Mane, who had won a couple of close encounters with solid final round performances last year, repeated the feat at the Golconda Masters 2018 presented by Telangana Tourism, a Rs. 30 lakh event, played at the Hyderabad Golf Association (HGA) course.
The 27-year-old Udayan (68) emerged triumphant in a four-way playoff at the fourth edition of the Golconda Masters on Sunday to take home his sixth professional trophy. Mane outclassed Delhi’s Shamim Khan (67), Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha (67) and Sri Lankan N Thangaraja (68) in the playoff after the quartet had ended the regulation 72 holes with identical totals of 14-under-270.
Udayan Mane (67-66-69-68), lying one off the lead in tied second at the start of round four, was even-par for the day through seven holes after an early birdie and bogey. But he began his title charge with birdies on the eighth, 10th and 11th. Udayan came up with an unbelievable recovery on the 10th as his approach from a different fairway landed within 20 feet of the pin for eagle. He made two putts to pick up a birdie there. A long conversion followed on the next hole.
Mane’s three-putt bogey on the 16th almost dashed his title hopes. But he came roaring back with his best drive of the day on the 17th that set up another birdie for him. Udayan, who was second on the 2017 PGTI Order of Merit, finally came home the champion after his immaculate ball-striking on the playoff hole left him a three foot birdie putt for victory. The trio of N Thangaraja, Shamim Khan and Abhijit Singh Chadha had to make longer birdie conversions but missed out.
Udayan said, “At the start of the round I said three words to myself – focus, patience and determination. I did have some frustrating moments today but I handled them well. The exceptional approach on the 10th really got my round going and the terrific drive on the 17th helped me get back into the joint lead. These were some key moments.
“On the playoff hole, I felt I was quite relaxed while hitting my shots even though my heart was racing between the shots. I hit a fantastic drive and an even better second shot. The winning putt was a relatively easy one but the situation made it seem a little tough. I just told myself to imagine it’s not a playoff and just putt like I would in any other situation.
“I feel the momentum continuing from last year when I won three titles. But it’s still early stages in my career, so I consider the victories also part of my learning curve. I thank my sponsor AVT for their constant support. I really enjoyed the playing conditions at the HGA and look forward to returning to this magnificent golf course next year.”
Mane, who took home a cheque worth Rs. 4,50,000 has now climbed from 39th place to third position in the 2018 PGTI Order of Merit.
Joint runners-up Shamim Khan (67-68-68-67), Abhijit Singh Chadha (70-65-68-67) and N Thangaraja (65-69-68-68) were all in with a chance towards the latter stages of the day. However, during the playoff Shamim Khan and Abhijit Singh Chadha missed their birdie putts from a range of 15 to 17 feet while Thangaraja hit it over the green and missed the chip for birdie.
Round three leader Mukesh Kumar of Mhow shot a final round of 74 to finish tied eighth at nine-under-275.