Sports

Shiv Kapur’s errant drive on last hole hands Korean teen the Panasonic Open India title

V Krishnaswamy Gurugram | Updated on November 17, 2019 Published on November 17, 2019

Joohyung Kim, the17-year-old Korean teen sensation, who clinched the title in Gurugram, on Sunday

Shiv Kapur faltered at the doorstep of victory as he hooked his drive on the closing Par-5 18th hole to hand the 17-year-old rookie, Joohyung Kim, the Panasonic Open India Trophy.

It meant no one has still won the Panasonic Open more than once. It was also only the second time that a player other than an Indian had won the event in its nine editions.

Joohyung finished at 13-under almost an hour before Kapur finished. Kapur came to the 18th tee at 14-under but fell to 12-under after his drive went out of bounds.

It resulted in a double bogey as he failed to hole a difficult 25-footer for bogey that would have given him another chance in a play-off at the Classic Golf and Country Club.

Kapur ended in a tie for second with S Chikkarangappa (67). Vikrant Chopra (67-70-69) was Tied-fifth, while Veer Ahlawat (69-69-70) was Tied-eighth.

Arjun Prasad and M Dharma were Tied-11th. Chikka’s birdie on the 18th to get to 12-under helped him tie his best finish on Asian Tour at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open in 2018, where he tied-second.

Kapur, one of the three co-leaders at the start, held the sole lead at two different stages.

The first was soon after the very first hole when his two playing partners, Terry Pikadaris (71 and fourth) and Adam Blyth (77 and T-23) bogeyed. Kapur had a par. The second time was after his birdie on the 14th.

Joohyung said, “It was really windy today and I scrambled quite well. It was not easy to shoot a 65 under these conditions. But I managed to do it and now, I’m a winner!”

Joohyung, starting five groups ahead of Kapur, fired away at the flags and holed the birdies with remarkable consistency for six-under 30 front nine.

He added a seventh on 10th.

Despite no more birdies, he ended with the clubhouse lead at 13-under and waited for the next hour and more before a wayward drive from Kapur on the final hole opened the door. The consequent double bogey wrenched the Trophy away from Kapur’s grasp and Joohyung won his first Asian Tour title.

Rendered speechless

As a devasted Kapur left the course immediately after submitting his card, Joohyung, the toast of the evening, admitted he was speechless.

The Korean teen, born in 2002, the year Kapur won the Asian Games gold in Korea, said, “I am really speechless. It has been a dream of mine to play on the Asian Tour ever since I was young. And it’s really wonderful to come here, be in contention and win. I cannot describe the feeling now. I’m still trying to learn every single step of the way.”

Joohyung’s father, Chang Ik, is a former Korean pro, who after one season on the Buy.com (now called Korn Ferry Tour) in the US turned to golf teaching.

Chang took Joohyung with him to Australia where he was doing his teaching course in Melbourne.

The family then moved to the Philippines before making Thailand their home.

A great season

Joohyung added, “The season has been great especially coming back from my injuries and winning three times on the ADT and now this victory. Last week, I was one off the lead with two holes to play. But I ended sixth.”

Vikrant Chopra (67-70-69) took a share of fifth place on 10-under 206 alongside Indonesia Rory Hie, who won the Classic International here six-od weeks ago.

Jyoti Randhawa was two-under 214 for a share of the 44th place while fellow Tour senior Jeev Milkha Singh was a further shot back on 215 and tied 50th place.

Chikka said, “I’ve been superb on the par-5s this week as my strategy to lay up within my favourite yardage with my approach shots worked wonders. I was 10-under on the par-5s through the tournament. My hitting and putting were very consistent but my wedge-play was my only weak link this week.”

Published on November 17, 2019
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