Poom Saksansin of Thailand completed a convincing wire-to-wire victory after defeating home favourite Khalin Joshi by two shots at the inaugural TAKE Solutions Masters on Sunday.
Saksansin will make his debut at the 2017 Fiji International 17-20 August as a now two-time winner on the Asian Tour, his last victory coming at the 2016 BNI Indonesian Masters presented by Zurich.
The 24-year-old Saksansin never lost his lead on the last day as he returned with a 4-under par 67 with a winning total of 16-under-par 268 at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) Golf Course.
“Honestly I have confidence to win but because I played badly yesterday (round three), I was a bit worried. Yes, I felt nervous but my caddy cheered me. I just continued talking to him. He is a local caddy,” Saksansin said.
“I didn’t expect to win and be leader for four days! I was very surprised I was the leader after the third round because I played so badly. But after leading for three days, it would have been very disappointing to lose.
“In Indonesia I felt that I’m lucky to win. This time, I felt that I played very well and I had a lot of expectations to win. Maybe I’m also good player that’s why I win (laughs). This win means I’m back in form. I injured my back before so this is a very good win for me.”
Joshi, who hails from Bengaluru and grew up playing golf at KGA, battled tooth-and-nail before settling for second place following a round of 67. Three bogeys in a round of seven birdies dashed his hopes for a first Asian Tour title.
“On the 18th hole, I knew Khalin (Joshi) needed an albatross to go into a play-off for me. If he did that then good but for me, I just needed to make par so I played it safe,” Saksansin said of the tight finish.
Ajeetesh Sandhu (66) of India finished a further shot back in lone third place on 274 while Rory Hie of Indonesia, Divyanshu Bajaj and Abhinav Lohan of India settled for fourth at the US$300,000 Asian Tour event.
Saksansin’s lead was only briefly threatened when Joshi birdied his opening hole but the Thai held his nerve and claimed a sensational victory after posting five birdies.
The Fiji International is a tri-sanctioned event with the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia, European Tour and Asian Tour, meaning Saksansin has the chance to climb the Asian Tour Order of Merit rankings with any prize money earned at the AU$1.5 million dollar event.