Seasoned Mukesh Kumar cruised to a comfortable 11-shot win at the inaugural Express Exclusive presents Chennai Open Golf Championship at the Madras Gymkhana Club (MGC) Golf Course at Guindy here today. The golfer from Mhow completed his total domination at the MGC today, thanks to a final round of four-under 66 that saw him post a grand tournament tally of 20-under 260. Honey Baisoya of Delhi finished runner-up at nine-under 271 as a result of his last round of two-under 68 at the Rs. 40 lakh event. Mukesh (61-68-65-66), who began the day with an almost unassailable lead of nine shots, fired two birdies against a lone bogey on the front-nine in round four. He then went on a rampage with a hat-trick of birdies from the 10th to the 12th. He then recovered well from the bushes and went on to sink his longest putt of the day, a 25-footer, for birdie on the 14th. It was then a matter of formality as Mukesh finally registered an astounding 11-stroke victory despite a bogey on the last hole. While he is well past 100 titles on the Indian domestic circuit, Mukesh's win in Chennai handed him a record 18th title on the PGTI. Delhi's Ashok Kumar is next best on the PGTI with 13 wins against his name. Mukesh, who is currently 51 years and two months of age, also broke his own record of being the oldest player to win on the PGTI. He set the record with his last win on the PGTI in December 2015 when he was 50 years and four months old. Besides it was also Mukesh's third straight win at the MGC. He had won the previous two PGTI events staged at the MGC in 2008 and 2009. Incidentally, Mukesh today matched his 11-stroke victory margin from the 2008 event at MGC. Mukesh said, "I'm delighted to have bagged my first win of the year.
This gets me into contention for the Rolex Ranking title. I had narrowly lost out in the Rolex Ranking last year, having finished second. My first round of 61 had set up the tournament nicely for me. "Today, it was just a matter of hanging in there. I had planned to play safe on the first six holes in order to keep the errors out and I managed to do that. I had a good day with the putter as I converted three birdies from a distance of 15 to 25 feet." Mukesh has now moved up from 15th place to sixth position in the Rolex Ranking as his winning purse of Rs. 6,00,000 took his season's earnings to Rs. 13,62,783. Honey (67-66-70-68) hung on to his overnight second place with a two-under-68 on day four. It was Baisoya's career-best finish and also his fourth top-10 of the year. Bengalureans Udayan Mane and Mari Muthu R took a share of third place at six-under-274 along with Delhi's Shamim Khan and Bangladesh's Md Zamal Hossain Mollah. Bengaluru's C Muniyappa, Gurgaon's Veer Ahlawat and Sanjay Kumar of Lucknow were a further shot back in tied seventh.