Himachal on verge of win
Vidarbha’s Sandeep wrecks Haryana
Yuvraj set to return to Test ranks after almost a year
Pujara, Shah score half-tons to grind England
Delhi’s Sehwag dons fire-fighting mantle
Pujara gets ideas about England
Injury scare for Zaheer
Proteas get useful practice
Mumbai in command against Railways
Bhupathi-Bopanna are the Masters of Paris
Kimi is king at Abu Dhabi
Bhullar tied 18th at WGC Champions
14-year-old from China earns ticket to Masters
Lucie gives Czech mates Fed Cup gift
Sandhu snuffs out Jyoti challenge at DLF golf
5th bat to hit double ton on debut
Tribune News Service
Mohali, November 4
Punjab declared at 565/6 late in the day to have a final go at the opposition after resuming at 243/0 on Day Three. Their gut instinct paid off as Punjab pacers reduced the visiting team to 46/3 to become a strong contender for outright win. All they need is seven wickets on the last day with spinner Harbhajan Singh asthe key man. Medium pacer Siddarth Kaul, on a comeback trail, ensured that he too had his share in the team’s performance by taking all the top three wickets with his sheer pace and swing. Jiwanjot, who will turn 22 on Tuesday, played aggressively but stuck to the ground was impressive with his strokeplay.
The only blip came while batting on 184 he nicked Pragyan Ojha’s delivery (107over) only to be missed by skipper VVS Laxman at first slip. He was finally bowled by by Pagadala Naidu. Karan Goel (129) could add only 23 runs to his overnight total. Mayank Sidhana (8) got LBW out to Naidu but vice captain Mandeep Singh (33) played sensibly.
Punjab’s final push was given by skipper Harbhajan Singh (48) who played freely and hit some crisp boundaries and a straight six over the sight screen. Uday Kaul (54 not out) tenaciously held on to the other end .
Brief Scores: Hyderabad: 258 and 46/3 in 15 overs. (A Reddy 24 no; S Kaul 3/7); Punjab 1st innings: 565/6 declared. (Jiwanjot 213, K Goel 129, P Naidu 2/85). — PTI
Past double tons
Nadaun, November 4 After Paras Dogra`s 121 yesterday, Amit Kumar (101) and Rishi Dhawan (102 not out) slammed centuries to propel Himachal to 536 for six declared in their first innings in reply to Kerala`s 229. At the draw of stumps on day three, Kerela are tottering at 28 for three in their second essay, still trailing Himachal by 279 runs with a full day`s play remaining. Left-arm pacer Mohinder Sharma (2/1) accounted for two wickets, while Vikramjeet Malik picked up the other Kerela batsmen to be fall on the day. For Kerala, Vasudevan Jagadeesh was not out on six runs. Brief Scores: Kerala 1st innings: 229 and 28 for three in eight overs (Sony Cheruvathur 18; Mohinder Sharma 2/1); HP 1st innings: 536 for six decl in 158 overs (Paras Dogra 121, Amit Kumar 101, Rishi Dhawan 102 not out; PU Anthaf 2/109). Nadeem leads Jharkhand to innings win over J&K Captain Shahbaz Nadeem spun the web around Jammu & Kashmir batsmen with stunning match figures of 9-104 as Jharkhand scored a comfortable innings and 31 run win over the hosts on the penultimate day of their Ranji Trophy Group C match on Sunday. After returning with figures of 3-50 in the first innings, left-arm spinner Nadeem starred with the ball and scalped six wickets for 54 runs to bowl out J&K for 152 runs in their second essay. In reply to Jammu and Kahsmir`s 195, Jharkhand ended their first innings at 377 after resuming at the overnight score of 354 for eight. Rameez Nemat (75), Saurabh Tiwary (72) and wicket-keeper Shiv Gautam (80) made crucial contributions in the first innings to put Jharkhand in the driver’s seat. Starting their second essay, J&K batsmen surrendered in front of Nadeem to be bundled out for 152. Brief Scores: J&K: 195 and 151 all out in 49 overs (P Rassol 31, H Singh 29; S Nadeem 6/54); Jharkhand: 377 in 120.5 overs (S Gautam 80, R Neemat 75, S Tiwary 72; P Rassol 3/96). — PTI
After Paras Dogra`s 121 yesterday, Amit Kumar (101) and Rishi Dhawan (102 not out) slammed centuries to propel Himachal to 536 for six declared in their first innings in reply to Kerala`s 229.
At the draw of stumps on day three, Kerela are tottering at 28 for three in their second essay, still trailing Himachal by 279 runs with a full day`s play remaining.
Left-arm pacer Mohinder Sharma (2/1) accounted for two wickets, while Vikramjeet Malik picked up the other Kerela batsmen to be fall on the day. For Kerala, Vasudevan Jagadeesh was not out on six runs.
Brief Scores: Kerala 1st innings: 229 and 28 for three in eight overs (Sony Cheruvathur 18; Mohinder Sharma 2/1); HP 1st innings: 536 for six decl in 158 overs (Paras Dogra 121, Amit Kumar 101, Rishi Dhawan 102 not out; PU Anthaf 2/109).
Nadeem leads Jharkhand to innings win over J&K
Captain Shahbaz Nadeem spun the web around Jammu & Kashmir batsmen with stunning match figures of 9-104 as Jharkhand scored a comfortable innings and 31 run win over the hosts on the penultimate day of their Ranji Trophy Group C match on Sunday.
After returning with figures of 3-50 in the first innings, left-arm spinner Nadeem starred with the ball and scalped six wickets for 54 runs to bowl out J&K for 152 runs in their second essay.
In reply to Jammu and Kahsmir`s 195, Jharkhand ended their first innings at 377 after resuming at the overnight score of 354 for eight. Rameez Nemat (75), Saurabh Tiwary (72) and wicket-keeper Shiv Gautam (80) made crucial contributions in the first innings to put Jharkhand in the driver’s seat.
Starting their second essay, J&K batsmen surrendered in front of Nadeem to be bundled out for 152.
Brief Scores: J&K: 195 and 151 all out in 49 overs (P Rassol 31, H Singh 29; S Nadeem 6/54); Jharkhand: 377 in 120.5 overs (S Gautam 80, R Neemat 75, S Tiwary 72; P Rassol 3/96). — PTI
Rohtak, November 4
Sandeep (4/36) dismissed two Haryana batsmen in the space of three balls, five overs into the day, before claiming two more wickets later as Vidarbha shot out the home side for 183 in 79.4 overs in their second innings.
Vidarbha, who had a 150-run lead in the first innings, needed just 34 runs for a win which they notched up easily, reaching 37 for two in 15 overs in their second innings at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium. Chanderpal Saini claimed both the Vidarbha wickets at the expense of 11 runs. Earlier, Haryana resumed at 103 for three but their two batsmen fell in no time with the addition of just three runs. Both Abhimanyu Khod and Priyank Tehlan fell at the same total of 106.
Soon Sandeep removed Haryana captain Amit Mishra to reduce the home side to 123 for six before Chanderpal Saini and Kuldeep Hooda fell at the same score of 128.
Abhimanyu Khod was the highest scorer for Haryana today with 28 and he was the ninth batsman out at the team score of 147. The last wicket pair of Amit Vashisht and Mohit Sharma resisted for a brief while for a lost cause by adding 36 runs before the later was out for 14. Besides Sandeep's 4/36, Shrikant Wagh and Sairaj Bahutule took two and one wicket respectively for Vidarbha.
Brief Scores: Haryana: 55 & 183 in 79.4 overs (A Khod 28; S Singh 4/36) vs Vidarbha 205 & 37 /2 in 15 overs (Faiz Fazal not out 13; C Saini 2/11). — PTI
Mumbai, November 4
Though skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has said that the left-handed batsman was the best judge of his fitness for the rigours of Test cricket after having undergone treatment for cancer, it looks unlikely that the selectors will leave him out of the squad.
Yuvraj came back into the Indian team that flopped in the Twenty20 World Championship in Sri Lanka and then struck a double century for North Zone against Central Zone in the Duleep Trophy tie at Hyderabad, his re-entry into first class cricket.Chosen for India A against the England cricketers in the tourists opening three-day warm-up game at the Brabourne Stadium here, Yuvraj scored a fine 59 with seven fours and four sixes and then grabbed a career-best first-class haul of five wickets. Yuvraj last played a Test match against the West Indies lats year in Kolkata.
In all probability, he would come into the squad in place of S Badrinath who had taken the spot of the retired V V S Laxman. Yuvraj's likely competitor in the playing XI, Suresh Raina, too is expected to retain his position though he looked unconvincing against the England pace attack when leading India A at the Cricket Club of India. He made 20 and 19 not out in the drawn game.
Raina had one fifty and two single digit scores in the two-Test rubber against New Zealand at home. But for a 78 in the opening match of the away series he played against England, Raina was a total failure, and also bagged a pair in the fourth and final Test. The rest of the squad members, barring surprise selection Piyush Chawla, are expected to retain their places. Chawla, who had last played a Test in 2008 against South Africa at Kanpur, was a surprise choice by Srikkanth and co. but sat in the reserves during the two-Test rubber against the Kiwis.
It could be a toss-up between Chawla and Harbhajan Singh who was recalled for the World Twenty20 championships for the third slow bowler's slot.
Ajinkya Rahane is likely to be the third opener alongside regulars Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir while the middle order picks would be Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, Cheteshwar Pujara and the duo of Yuvraj and Raina along with Dhoni to prop up the latter order.
Pace picks are expected to be Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma, who were in the squad against New Zealand, with the bowling attack completed by spin twins R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha, supported by Harbhajan or Chawla. — PTI
Mumbai, November 4
Pujara, expected to be in the Indian team for the November 15-19 first Test to be picked tomorrow, came to the crease before lunch and spent the entire second session and much of the third till he was out after a 262-minute stay at the crease at the D Y Patil Stadium.
Pujara, who hit 11 fours in 184 balls, and Hiken Shah put on a stand of 163 runs for the third wicket in around four hours as the disciplined England bowling attack toiled hard but was unable to separate the two for 338 balls.
In large measure due to the duo's fine batting, Mumbai A, replying to the visitors' first innings total of 345 for nine declared, ended the day 113 runs behind England with one more day to go.
At stumps, Shah was holding fort after having batted for over four hours, faced 190 balls and struck nine fours and a six. Mumbai A lost their skipper Suryakumar Yadav in the last over of the day of the bowling of James Anderson, who took the second new ball, for 17. Pujara, lucky to be let off on 22 by Anderson at slip off left-arm spinner Monty Panesar just after lunch, went into a defensive mode in the second session before opening out a bit in the last.
The 24-year-old Saurashtra batsman, who has played five Tests so far, was finally consumed by the same bowler, as Anderson pouched the edge off the defensive bat. Mumbai A crawled their way back in the afternoon session against a disciplined England bowling attack after starting their innings 45 minutes into the third day. They moved to 43 for one at lunch with opener Bhavin Thakkar out for five.
The home team inched to 110 for two at tea break by adding 67 runs in the middle session in 31 overs and lost opener Shikhar Dhawan (27), who was sent back by part-time off break bowler Joe Root.
Pujara batted the entire second session to add 24 runs to his lunch score of 14. In all, he hit just three fours and a lone boundary in this period.
He became ultra-defensive after being let off by Anderson while diminutive left-hander Shah was stroke-less and run-less for a long time leading to drying up of runs in the second session. After his escape, Pujara totally eschewed risks after he had shown some sort of aggression in the pre-lunch session, driving and cutting the bowlers for a few boundaries.
The post-tea period saw both the batsmen coming of the shell and striking fours. — PTI
Ghaziabad, November 4
Having conceded a sizeable first innings lead of 168 runs, Delhi finished the third day's play at 197 for four to take a lead of 29 runs with six second innings wickets in hand. UP scored 403 in their first innings.
Captain Sehwag, who had a cut on his ring finger, came in at number six and was batting on 21 at stumps. Delhi will depend on him and seasoned pro Mithun Manhas (63 batting, 10x4 ) who has again shouldered the responsibility of playing the role of sheet anchor to perfection.
Although Sehwag looked in discomfort, he did hit some lovely shots including back-to-back boundaries through off-side of Suresh Raina's bowling. One of the three fours was a majestic backfoot cover drive.
Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir contributed 43 and 47 respectively but both played poor shots after getting well-set. Earlier, Praveen Kumar smashed a quickfire 51 not out off only 57 balls as Uttar Pradesh finished their first innings on a commendable 403, thereby getting a comprehensive lead of 168 runs. Delhi had scored 235 in their first essay. — PTI
Mumbai, November 4
“I was looking forward for this match to get some runs so that I get some practice before the Test series. I have not faced many of England’’s bowlers in the past. “I wanted to get a look at their action, what are their strengths, what kind of things they would come up against me and what kind of strategy they will have,” Pujara said. Asked about England bowlers’ struggle, Pujara said things would be different in the Tests. “The wicket was on the slower side. I was very comfortable against all the bowlers. I can get a little bit of idea but it won’t be the same in the Test match because intensity will be higher,” he said. — PTI
Mumbai, November 4
The national selectors will meet here tomorrow to pick the squad for the series.
Zaheer walked out just as he was about to bowl his last delivery of the innings' 99th over. Railways were 333 for six at that point.
It was the first over of Zaheer's fourth spell, and his 12th of the day. He did not return to the field thereafter.
Mumbai skipper Ajit Agarkar said that the senior bowler will turn up tomorrow. "Zak is okay. He is just cramping a bit. He has had a long day and was it very humid here," Agarkar said.
Agarkar said the veteran started feeling uneasy after tea and added that they didn't want to exert him as two wickets had already fallen in the session.
“He has worked hard enough. In the last month he trained well. He should be on field tomorrow morning. He should be okay. He is just cramping badly. It suddenly got a bit humid, so he probably dehydrated... after the tea session. That is when, that is when you want to hold back a little bit instead of doing any damage. He should be okay tomorrow morning. "Once you are in (the dressing room) you can't bowl for that period so it didn't really make sense, plus they lost two wickets later on so they were eight down anyway. It's better when you are fresh tomorrow than making it worse today.
That is the only reason." The Mumbai skipper indicated that Zaheer had bowled a fair number of overs. “He bowled well. There is Test match at the back of his mind. You want to get yourself ready for Test and bowl as many overs,” he said. — PTI
Sydney, November 4
The visitors, who had spent almost five sessions in the field as Australia A amassed 480 for seven, batted out the first two sessions of the third and final day before declaring on 277 for six, 203 runs behind.
The hosts were expected to face 27 overs from the world's best pace attack in the final session, but both captains decided to end the match at the Sydney Cricket Ground an hour early with Australia A on 13 for one. Dale Steyn had taken the only wicket to fall when he had Liam Davis caught behind for a duck. Rob Quiney, who made 85 in the first innings, was on 11, while former test batsman Phillip Hughes was on one when the game ended after South Africa had bowled 10 overs. After their bowlers toiled for much of the first two days, South Africa's batsmen were given every opportunity to get accustomed to Australian conditions with both Hashim Amla (53) and captain Graeme Smith (60) opting to retire shortly after they reached their half centuries.
The middle order duly obliged with JP Duminy (31) and Jacques Rudolph (39) both crafting patient innings on the slow-paced pitch, while AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis both scored 24 runs before Smith decided the bowlers needed another workout. — Reuters
Mumbai, November 4
In pursuit of Mumbai's massive 570 all out, Railways were trailing by 190 runs at stumps, and required another 41 to avoid follow-on. The visitors needed at least a couple of big knocks from their top-order batsmen but that did not happen, though there were three half-centuries. Railways, however, could not really capitalise on the lives they got at the Wankhede stadium. Ashish Yadav was dropped on 12 by wicketkeeper Aditya Tare off Romesh Powar. — PTI
Bhupathi-Bopanna are the Masters of Paris
Paris, November 4
The Indian pair registered a straight-sets victory, claiming the title with a 7-6 (6), 6-3 victory.
Soon after they won the final, Bhupathi went to twitter.com and congratulated his partner with these words: “Conquered Paris, no time to celebrate. Taking the fast train the London to get set for the masters. Proud of you @RohanBopanna.”
The two indeed had much to feel proud about. They had qualified for the ATP World Tour finals in London with a 6-7(5), 6-3, 10-4 victory over ‘Polish Power’ Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski in the quarterfinals here.
In the final, the fifth seed Indian pair, playing their fourth final of the season, won a battle of attrition agains the Pakistan-Dutch combination, in a match that lasted one hour and 24 minutes.
Bhupathi and Bopanna had won the Dubai ATP event and ended runners-up at Cincinnati and Shanghai.
The Indians could not convert a single breakpoint of the six chances in the opening set but held nerves in the tie-breaker to take the lead.
They saved a crucial break chance in the second set and cashed in on both the chances on opponents’ serve to seal the win.
The 38-year-old Bhupathi is a four-time runner-up at the year-end ATP World Tour finals, losing the final in 2010 with Max Mirnyi and 1997, ‘99 and 2000 with Leander Paes.
Bopanna, 32, had made his debut at the year-end championships last year with Qureshi.
Qureshi and Rojer had also qualified for the London event with their second-round win over Feliciano Lopez and Nenad Zimonjic.
Bhupathi and Bopanna had defeated Paul Hanley and Jonathan Marray 7-5, 6-3 in the semifinals. The Indians saved all five break points faced on serve while capitalising on two of their opportunities.
They had reached the final here having lost just one set in their three matches.
In the men’s singles event, David Ferrer clinched his maiden Masters title when he ended Polish qualifier Jerzy Janowicz's brilliant run in Paris with a 6-4, 6-3. Fourth seed Ferrer proved too consistent for world number 69 Janowicz, who had previously beaten five players from the top 20.
Janowicz gradually ran out of steam and Ferrer ended the contest on his first match point when the Pole sent a backhand wide. Ferrer, who fell down on the court in joy, heads to London where he will play in the World Tour finals starting on Monday. — Agencies
Abu Dhabi, November 4
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finished runner-up, just 0.8 seconds behind the Finn, after a nail-biting final few laps to close the gap between him and Vettel to 10 points with two races remaining.
On an afternoon with a huge crash, two safety car interludes and a string of retirements including McLaren's Lewis Hamilton while leading from pole position, the floodlit Yas Marina circuit hosted one of the sport's great races and kept the stewards busy.
The victory was Raikkonen's first since 2009 when the 2007 world champion won in Belgium, the 19th of his career, and made him the eighth different driver to triumph in 18 races so far this season.
Vettel, who started from the pit lane and set the fastest lap of the race, now has 255 points to Alonso's 245 and can clinch a third successive title in Austin, Texas, in two weeks if results go his way.
"It was an unbelievable day for Sebastian today," said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner after Vettel also had to pit for a new front wing in the early stages.
Red Bull could have clinched the constructors' championship for the third year in a row on Sunday but were made to wait after Australian Mark Webber crashed out. They now have 422 points to Ferrari's 340. — Agencies
Dongguan, November 4
He finished in a tie for 18th place and took home $75,000, which put alongside his top-10 at CIMB Classic last week, indicated that he is ready for the big league. His senior country mate Jeev Milkha Singh closed with a 71 to finish tied 46th on 287.
Bhullar confessed that the key difference from winning at the highest level was simply self-belief.
“I think it’s self-belief. It’s the only difference. Today and the past few weeks, I’ve been playing with the PGA Tour players and I’ve been pumping my three woods past their drivers,” he said.
“Obviously, length is not an issue but the mental belief. If I play more and more in these events, one fine day, I’ll wake up with the self belief and win a Major,” said Bhullar, who finished nine shots behind winner Ian Poulter.
Poulter claimed a two-shot victory after overcoming an overnight four-shot deficit with a second successive seven-under 65 today. The flamboyant Englishman, Europe’s talisman in the memorable Ryder Cup victory last month when he won all four of his matches, picked up his second title in the World Golf Championships, 12th on the European and third in Asia.
He carded eight birdies to overhaul a faltering Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen, the joint third round leaders, before dropping a shot on the penultimate hole for a four-day total of 21-under-par 267.
South African star Ernie Els and the American trio of Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner and Scott Piercy all shared second place in Asia’s richest tournament and only World Golf Championships event in the region. — PTI
14-year-old from China earns ticket to Masters
Bangkok, November 4 Teenager Guan earned an invitation to the 2013 Masters at Augusta after firing an even-par 71 to win by one stroke from Taiwan’s Pan Chung-Tseng at Amata Spring Country Club. Pan shot a final-round 65 but Guan hung on to claim a memorable victory with a 15-under total of 269. Australia’s Oliver Goss, who finished third, said Guan was “too young to be intimidated.” When Guan tees it up at Augusta in April he will beat the previous record set by Italy’s Matteo Manassero, who was 16 when he played at the year’s first major in 2010. Guan has establishing himself as Asia’s latest golf sensation, becoming the youngest player to compete at a European Tour event at the China Open earlier this year. Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa and South Korean Noh Seung-yul burst onto the scene while at school, blazing a trail for the next generation of Asian golfers. — Reuters
Bangkok, November 4
Teenager Guan earned an invitation to the 2013 Masters at Augusta after firing an even-par 71 to win by one stroke from Taiwan’s Pan Chung-Tseng at Amata Spring Country Club.
Pan shot a final-round 65 but Guan hung on to claim a memorable victory with a 15-under total of 269.
Australia’s Oliver Goss, who finished third, said Guan was “too young to be intimidated.”
When Guan tees it up at Augusta in April he will beat the previous record set by Italy’s Matteo Manassero, who was 16 when he played at the year’s first major in 2010.
Guan has establishing himself as Asia’s latest golf sensation, becoming the youngest player to compete at a European Tour event at the China Open earlier this year. Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa and South Korean Noh Seung-yul burst onto the scene while at school, blazing a trail for the next generation of Asian golfers. — Reuters
Prague, November 4
Left-hander Safarova, the world No. 17, broke Jankovic’s opening serve before winning 6-1 6-1 in front of a 14,000 capacity crowd at Prague’s O2 Arena. She had won only one of their previous six encounters.
“It is impossible to describe how great this feeling is, because it is at home,” Safarova said.
“I played unbelievably well. This was one of those days when everything you touch works out well. I really wanted to win and I am very happy.”
“Jelena is a great player but I was very focused and solid, it was one of my best matches...one of my best five games.”
Safarova’s form contrasted with her two losses in last year’s final against Russia and compensated for Petra Kvitova, who had stumbled in her return singles earlier on Sunday.
Kvitova lost 6-3 7-5 to Ana Ivanovic who kept alive Serbia’s hopes of winning their debut Fed Cup.
World number eight Kvitova had been expected to hand the Czechs an unbeatable 3-0 lead but former French Open winner Ivanovic produced an inspired display.
The 24-year old Serb took the first point for Serbia with a forehand winner on her third match point.
“I knew today I would be playing better and I started swinging from the beginning and worked well for me. (Kvitova) started swinging again (in the second set), getting few winners down the lines, but I managed to stay calm,” she said.
Kvitova said she had felt healthy after but lacked power. “I did not have a lot of energy. At the beginning I was being much too hectic, I wanted to take the final point in this tie,” she said.
“Ana played very well, aggressively, I only could play a few shots in rallies, that is why I made errors and she took the winners.”
The Fed Cup title is the Czechs seventh overall including the former Czechoslovakia. They are hoping to complete a double when the men’s team take on Spain in the Davis Cup final this month. — Reuters
Gurgaon, November 4
The two golfers finished with identical totals of six-under 282 before heading for the playoff.
Ajeetesh (70-66-70-76) started the day as the firm favourite as he enjoyed a six-stroke lead after round three and his birdie on the third hole today further consolidated his lead.
But Ajeetesh then struck a lean patch from the fifth to the 16th hole, where he dropped three double bogeys, two bogeys against one birdie, to squandered away his huge lead.
The 24-year-old found the trees on the fifth and seventh and did not have a swing on both occasions. This resulted in double bogeys on both the holes. Another bogey on the eighth meant he made the turn at four-over for the day.
Sandhu’s birdie on the 11th was neutralized by his third double bogey of the day on the 12th. The wiry Ajeetesh, who was one of the top junior golfers in the country before turning professional, found the rough on the 12th and then produced a poor shot from the bunker.
Ajeetesh’s title hopes were all but dashed when he bogeyed the 16th hole as Jyoti Randhawa enjoyed a one shot lead at that point.
However, he came roaring back thereafter with a birdie-birdie finish on the 17th and 18th holes to take the match to a playoff.
He sank a 10-footer for birdie on the 17th and made a two-putt from the edge of the green for birdie on the 18th. Sandhu prevailed over the experienced Randhawa with a birdie on the first playoff hole (18th). Sandhu hit a terrific second shot (4-iron) from the centre of the fairway that landed on the edge of the green of the par-five 18th.
Randhawa found the green in three shots after his tee shot landed in the trees. Jyoti narrowly missed his 20-feet birdie putt while Ajeetesh two-putted for birdie to seal his maiden professional title.
After the win, Ajeetesh said: “This is a very special day for me as this is my first professional title since turning pro in 2008. I have come close on a few occasions but finally managed to cross the victory barrier today.”
“I thought I came back really well towards the end with birdies on the 17th, 18th and the playoff hole. The fantastic approach shot from 200 yards out during the playoff swung the match in my favour after Jyoti found the trees with his tee shot,” added Ajeetesh, who has now climbed from 22nd place to fifth position on the Rolex Rankings. — PTI