Chennai: Gurugram’s Sunhit Bishnoi was a cut above the rest as he produced a red-hot eight-under 64 on the final day to outshine the rest of the field and land his maiden title at the inaugural India Cements Pro Championship played at the TNGF Cosmo Golf Course in Chennai.
The 22-year-old Sunhit (66-68-70-64), playing only his second season as a professional, totaled 20-under 268 at the Rs. 50 lakh event to emerge wire-to-wire winner with an imposing nine-stroke margin. Bishnoi’s last round of 64 matched the tournament’s lowest score shot by Divyanshu Bajaj on day three.
Bangladesh’s Jamal Hossain (67-69-71-70) took second place at a distant 11-under 277.
Bengaluru golfer Trishul Chinnappa posted an outstanding 65 on Saturday to climb 23 spots and end the week in tied third place at 10-under 278 along with Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha (70) and Kolkata’s Divyanshu Bajaj (72).
Sunhit Bishnoi dominated the tournament by leading in the first three rounds and then maintaining his stranglehold on the leaderboard from start to finish in round four too.
Bishnoi, the joint leader along with Akshay Sharma going into the last round, was quick off the blocks on Saturday with an eagle on the par-5 second hole where he landed his second shot 10 feet from the pin. This was followed by birdies for Sunhit on the next three holes that gave him a commanding seven-shot lead. He left himself tap-ins on the third and fourth, finding the flag stick with his tee shot on the latter before chipping-in on the fifth.
The bogey on the eighth came against the run of play before Sunhit, the 2022 National Games bronze medalist for Haryana, was back to firing on all cylinders with birdies on the 10th, 12th and 13th, driving the par-4 10th green and chipping-in once again on the 12th. Bishnoi, who hails from the DLF Golf & Country Club, signed off with another birdie on the 18th.
Bishnoi, the ninth winner from as many events on the PGTI this year, collected the winning cheque worth Rs. 7,50,000 to move up 16 spots from 25th to ninth position on the TATA Steel PGTI Rankings.
Sunhit said, “It feels really good to win in just my second season as a professional. When you know that your hard work is paying off, it boosts your confidence. I dedicate this win to my parents and my sister Gaurika who is also a professional golfer. I keep talking to her after my rounds and often take her advice as she has more years of experience as a professional golfer than I do.
“I chipped really well today, made some clutch putts and had my best day with the driver this week. Being five-under on the first five holes helped me calm my nerves and relax. It set the tone for the rest of the round. However, I was not keeping track of my score but instead just focusing on the job at hand. I had played well at TNGF last year having finished 11th, so that helped me begin this week with a lot of confidence.”
Jamal Hossain pocketed three birdies and a bogey in round four and was among the many other contenders who couldn’t catch up with the pace set early on by Sunhit on Saturday. Jamal’s runner-up finish moved him up from fifth to fourth place in the PGTI’s merit list.
Om Prakash Chouhan of Mhow, who finished tied 11th at seven-under 281, continues to lead the TATA Steel PGTI Rankings.
268: Sunhit Bishnoi (66-68-70-64)
277: Jamal Hossain (67-69-71-70)
278: Trishul Chinnappa (73-72-68-65); Abhijit Singh Chadha (69-71-68-70); Divyanshu Bajaj (71-71-64-72)