Perera annexes title

Holder Lahiri comes perilously close before losing

Perera annexes title

Defending champion Anirban Lahiri nearly pulled off a coup before pace-setter Mithun Perera held his nerve at the most crucial junction to deservedly secure the PGTI-Eagleburg Open here on Saturday.

Leading from the opening round and holding a handsome six-shot advantage overnight, the ever-smiling Perera’s game  seemed to desert him in the final round as Lahiri made a splendid charge to stunningly catch up with the Lankan. However, Perera weathered the early storm in his customary composed self, carding a fighting one-under 71 to seal a three-shot victory after totalling 266 at the Eagleton Golf Resort.

Lahiri, who had a handy crowd following him at his home course and raised their hopes after tying the scores with Perera on the 11th hole, sadly couldn’t build further on the momentum, settling for second place after carding 68.

In a zone of his own since the dream win in the Standard Chartered Open at his hometown Colombo last week, 27-year-old Perera seemed well on course for another comfortable ride given the benign conditions on offer here. Striking and putting brilliantly as compared to Lahiri, who is making a few adjustments to his swing, few would have thought of a nervy finish. With Lahiri bogeying the opening hole of the day and falling seven shots, the script seemed pretty evident. A tenacious fighter, especially in the weekend rounds, Lahiri launched a stunning revival with a birdie on the second and nailing a hat-trick of birdies from the fourth.

Tension slowly started to mount on Perera as he bogeyed the ninth and 11th holes while Lahiri birdied the 11th as things came to an even keel between the two. A bogey-birdie-bogey ride from the 12th helped Lahiri stay just one behind Perera when the Lankan stepped up his game. He nailed a stunning eagle from 110 yards to go three shots ahead on the par-5 15th hole, decisively swinging the game in his favour. While Lahiri managed a birdie on the 17th, Perera sealed victory in style, sinking a birdie on closing hole before being mobbed by his ecstatic countrymen.

DH News Service

Leading scores (after 72 holes): 266: Mithun Perera (65, 66, 64, 71); 269: Anirban Lahiri (68, 65, 68, 68); 274: K Prabagaran (68, 71, 67, 68); 275: Mukesh Kumar (69, 69, 69, 68); 276: C Muniyappa (74, 69, 68, 65), N Thangaraja (68, 69, 69, 70), Anura Rohana (71, 68, 68, 69); 277: Harendra Gupta (72, 70, 67, 68), Himmat Singh Rai (71, 67, 70, 69); 278: Rahil Gangjee ( 73, 69, 66, 70), Shamim Khan (71, 67, 69, 71).

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