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Golf: Rory Hie keeps Rashid, others at bay to win CGCC Championship
Gurugram, September 15, 2019
Indonesia’s Rory Hie warded off a strong Indian challenge as he played a flawless four-under-par 68 to win the inaugural $300,000 Classic Golf and Country Club International Championship by two shots on Sunday.
At one point, Hie, Rashid Khan and Korean Byungjun Kim were all in a tie at the top of the leader-board after the 13th hole before the Indonesian ripped off three birdies in a row and Rashid bogeyed the 15th to fall two behind. That was the turning point.
As Hie shot 68 to finish at 21-under, Rashid stayed in the hunt till he mishit the 15th tee shot, carded 69 to reach 19-under and tie for second alongside Kim (67). Rashid’s bogey on 15th, coupled with Hie’s birdie on the same hole, ended the Indian’s chances as the Indonesian playing in India for the seventh year in a row, made no mistakes and parred the last three holes.
The 31-year old Indonesian, who led all through the tournament, was determined to seal his maiden win and demonstrated that resolve with an opening birdie on the first hole. ?Despite being under intense pressure from the chasing pack, he maintained his composure by marking his card with 11 straight pars before a hat-trick of birdies from the 13th hole to seal his victory.
"It was always my dream to walk up the 18th green with a two-shot lead and that’s what happened,” said Hie who became the first-ever from his country to become a title-winner on the Asian Tour against a few top-five finishes in the past on the erstwhile One Asia Tour even though he was ranked in the world’s top six as an amateur.
After receiving the trophy and winner’s cheque of $54,000. he said “It’s not really sunk in yet. But this has to be the biggest day of my life, no matter what happens from here on."
However, there was much to cheer for the Indians as a bunch of young stars finished in prominent positions with four of them featuring in the top eight.
For Rashid, the finish was somewhat disappointing though he downplayed it. He had moved to within one shot of Hie overnight. On Sunday, though, he just could not ignite his challenge. “I was just one shot behind after the 14th but hit a bad shot on the 15th which I bogeyed and Rory birdied. Just could not recover from that,” said Rashid, who got his third Top-10 finish in six starts on Asian Tour this year.
“Today was a little up and down for me. Couldn't find the fairways in the start at the front nine and missed a lot of greens. Somewhere on the course I think I went against myself. My game is to attack the flag and I went a little safe today. Maybe it was because I was not able to find the fairways and, from the rough, it is really tough to control the ball,” he added.
Young Aadil Bedi (66) in only his seventh Asian Tour start, logged his career-high fourth place at 18-under. Aman Raj (66) equalled his career-best and Abhijit Chadha (71) achieved a new personal best on Asian Tour. Both were Tied-fifth at 16-under.
"I found something after my chip on the 13th hole lipped out. After that, I just played more aggressive golf. Also, earlier in the week, I should have been a bit more patient and attacked the flag selectively. But this is all part of a learning process for me and I am glad to get my first top-5 finish and that too on home ground.” Aadil said.
There were further celebrations in store for the hosts at this Jack Nicklaus-designed course with another six players making inside Top-20 for a total of 10 among the Top-20. Veer Ahlawat (66) and Karan Pratap Singh (67) were Tied-13th at 12-under and another four Kshitij Naveed Kaul (67), Karandeep Kochhar (68), Shivendra Singh Sisodia (68) and Viraj Madappa (69) were Tied-17th at 11-under.
(Our News Desk can be contacted at email@example.com)
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