Delhi’s Sachin Baisoya posted a wire-to-wire win to take home his maiden trophy at the Rs. 1 crore TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship 2023 presented by Tollygunge Club, the opening event of the season.
Sachin’s (64-66-65-69) long-awaited victory came as a result of a steady final round of one-under 69 that took his total to 16-under 264 and helped him prevail with a two-shot margin.
Harsh Gangwar (66-64-67-69), another Delhi-based golfer, who had turned professional last season, finished a career-best tied second as his last round of 69 saw him end the week at a total of 14-under 266.
Rookie Varun Chopra (65-68-65-68) of the United States, making his pro debut on the PGTI this week after coming through last week’s Qualifying School, shot a fourth round of two-under 68 to also take tied second place along with Gangwar.
Sachin Baisoya, the leader since the first round who was two shots ahead going into round four, made early headway on Friday with a birdie from long range on the second. Baisoya, a bronze medalist in the team event for Delhi at last year’s National Games, dropped his first bogey of the day on the ninth where his ball was plugged in the bunker.
With closest rivals Harsh Gangwar and Varun Chopra breathing down his neck, Sachin played some brilliant wedge shots to pick up tap-in birdies on the 13th and 15th to seize the advantage. Baisoya made a couple of crucial pars on the 16th and 17th that all but sealed the title for him. Sachin’s bogey on the last hole was not enough to halt his charge towards the title.
Baisoya, who earned the winning cheque of Rs. 15 lakh to go on top of the TATA Steel PGTI Rankings, said, “I was numb after the final putt as I had been waiting for my first victory for a very long time. Today, I just told myself not to make any mistakes and grab any birdie opportunity that comes my way. I was very focused and had a gameplan and fortunately everything fell in place for me.
“The birdie on the 15th was probably the turning point as it resulted in a two-shot swing in my favour after Harsh bogeyed the same hole. I was then playing for par till the end and hit some good tee shots on the 16th and the 17th that saw me home.
“This win will surely do wonders for my confidence. Since my decent form began last year, I haven’t changed much in my game but have just changed my mindset. I’m a lot more positive in my approach now. I thank fellow professional Manav Jaini for all his encouragement and support to me.”
Harsh Gangwar, who was overnight second and two off the lead, was in the mix till the 14th having sunk a tap-in eagle on the 13th as well as four birdies and three bogeys. However, a bogey on the 15th and a double-bogey on the 16th where Harsh hit it out of bounds, put paid to his chances.
Varun Chopra, lying overnight third and three off the lead, also came close to challenging for the lead on the final day but his double-bogey on the 13th saw him drop out of the race. Varun also made five birdies and a bogey during his round.
Gurugram’s Kartik Sharma (67) and Patna’s Aman Raj (68) finished tied fourth at 13-under 267.
Udayan Mane (64) ended tied 13th at eight-under 272.
Kolkata’s Sandeep Yadav (69), the lone amateur to make the cut, finished tied 27th at four-under 276 thus bagging the trophy for the best performance by an amateur.
Last year’s winner Yuvraj Singh Sandhu took tied 30th place at one-under 279.
Raju Ali Mollah, the only Kolkata-based professional to make the cut, was tied 46th at one-over 281.