Madappa claims maiden crown

Viraj Madappa with the trophy after winning the TAKE Solutions Masters in Bengaluru on Sunday. DH photo/ Srikanta Sharma R

The promise of a riveting final round and a massive spoils at stake unnerved even the senior pros but not the ice cool young Viraj Madappa who strode to his maiden Asian Tour title at the TAKE Solutions Masters here.

Bengaluru-based Madappa had seemed like a man with a plan right from the third round and he showed tremendous poise on Sunday at the Karnataka Golf Association to fire a four-under 67 for a four-day total of 268 to clinch the title by two strokes.

Behind the Indian were Thai Danthai Boonma (14-under 270), his compatriot Suradit Y, Scott Vincent and Argentina's Miguel Carballo, who began the day atop the standings.

"I am really surprised. It hasn’t really sunk in yet and I’m feeling a lot of emotions. I don’t know which one to feel. I don’t know what to say. It’s been a roller-coaster since I came through the Qualifying School. I was playing good golf then but I went through a slump after that.

"I put in a lot of hard work at that point of time. I am very happy that it has paid off with today's victory," said the strapping 20-year-old who trains at the Tarun Sardesai Golf Academy.

It was no walk in the park for Madappa who found himself at even-par after the front nine, whereas Vincent had two birdies and was a shot ahead. It could have got harder for Madappa with Vincent striking a fine eagle on the 10th but the Kodava birdied to keep the gap at two.

The duo birdied the 11th as well before it all went awry for Vincent with a bogey on the 13th after he missed a regulation five-foot putt. Through the tournament, Madappa has enjoyed a fabulous form on the back-nine and it was no surprise that there was a spring in his step from the time he teed off on the tenth.

Four birdies on holes 10, 11, 15 and 16, and bogeys for Vincent on 13, 16 and 17 were enough to seal the deal as the KGA crowd, which included Madappa's mother Vidya, erupted in joy.

Revealing he never looked at the scoreboard until the final hole and was actually surprised, the articulate young man revealed: "I wasn’t looking at the leaderboard on the 18th. I only looked at it before I chipped. I was aggressive with that chip. I knew I had a two-shot lead then but I felt relieved after getting onto the green.

"I had a good feeling on the 15th tee box. I was one shot back at that point. I can’t explain but I just felt very good and very confident. I kind of knew it was my day right then."

A lot was expected from the likes of Khalin Joshi and S Chikkarangappa, who until the previous edition of the tournament had never lost at KGA, but neither of them could bring their A-game on a day it mattered and carded one-over 72 to finish at tied-sixth and ninth respectively.

Final standings: 268: Viraj Madappa (Ind) (70, 65, 66, 67); 270: Danthai Boonma (Tha) (66, 61, 73, 70), Scott Vincent (Zim) (66, 71, 65, 68), Suradit Y (Tha) (66, 69, 69, 66), Miguel Carballo (Arg) (66, 66, 67, 71); 272: Khalin Joshi (Ind) (67, 69, 64, 72), Honey Baisoya (Ind) (70, 66, 66, 70), SSP Chawrasia (Ind) (69, 65, 68, 70); 273: S Chikkarangappa (Ind) (69, 64, 68, 72).

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Madappa claims maiden crown

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