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Rory holds off Rashid's challenge to win Classic Golf & Country Club International golf

Press Trust of India  |  Gurugram 

A bogey on the 15th tee cost Rashid Khan the Classic Golf & Country Club International Championship title as Indonesia's Rory Hie claimed the honours here on Sunday.

The title enabled Rory, who first played in India at the same club 10 years ago, end his long winless streak.

Rory, once the world's no. 6 amateur, carded a final round of 68 to total 21-under 267 while Rashid, who last won on the Asian Tour in 2014, carded 69 to finish at 19-under 269 alongside little known Korean Byungjun Kim (67).

It was a start to finish win for Rory, who becomes the first Indonesian winner on the Asian Tour.

But for a few moments on the back nine, Rory was headed by Kim before he, Kim and Rashid briefly formed a trio at top at 19-under.

Rory birdied 14th and 15th to sneak ahead to 21-under, while Rashid bogeyed the 15th to fall back and could only birdie the 18th to finish at 19th.

Kim did not drop any shots but was also unable to find any birdies in the closing stages as Rory won by two shots.

However, there was much to cheer for the Indians as a bunch of young stars finished in prominent positions with four of them featuring in the top-eight. Overall 10 Indians finished in top-20.

India's new pro, Aadil Bedi (66) playing only his seventh Asian Tour start, logged his career-high fourth place at 18-under. Aman Raj (66) equaled his career-best and Abhijit Chadha (71) achieved a new personal best on Asian Tour. Both were tied-fifth at 16-under.

There was more to cheer as another six players were inside top-20.

Veer Ahlawat (66) and Karan Pratap Singh (67) were tied-13th at 12-under and another four Kshitij Naveed Kaul (67), Karandeep Kochhar (68), Shivendra Singh Sisodia (68) and Viraj Madappa (69) were tied-17th at 11-under, making it 10 Indians in top-20.

For Rashid this was his best finish on the Asian Tour since his tied second at Panasonic Open in 2016.

"I was only playing at 50 per cent of my game," a disappointed Rashid later said.

On his recent run-ins with Delhi Golf Club, where he once used to practice, he added, "I don't think about it any more. I practice wherever I can, be it NOIDA, Lado Sarai or Siri Fort. I take my car around and then decide where to play."

On Sunday, he had moved to within one shot of Rory.

"I was just one shot behind after the 14th but hit a bad shot on the 15th which I bogeyed and Rory birdied. Just could not recover from that," Rashid said.

This was Rashid's third Top-10 finish in six starts on the Asian Tour this year.

"Today was a little up and down for me. Couldn't find the fairways in the start at the front nine and missed a lot of greens. Somewhere on the course I think I went against myself. My game is to attack the flag and I went a little safe today," the Indian said.

Rory was ecstatic after claiming the title and winners's cheque of USD 54,000.

"It was always my dream to walk up the 18th green with a two-shot lead and that's what happened," he said.

"It's not really sunk in yet. But this has to be the biggest day of my life, no matter what happens from here on.

"The win will also open a lot of doors. Coming here, I wasn't sure of what I would be doing next but I guess this makes things a lot easier for me now. I have always enjoyed coming to India, it has such friendly and welcoming people, and I have good memories of this course too which I last played 10 years ago," the 31-year-old added.

Rory admitted that he was threatened by Rashid till the end.

"But after the 15th, with Kim playing in the group ahead of us, I knew I only had Rashid to worry about, That two-shot swing was decisive, the turning point for my tournament," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, September 15 2019. 18:45 IST