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Thailand’s Nitithorn Thippong wins DGC Open, India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu finishes second


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Thippong beat Sandhu in a playoff to take his maiden Asian Tour trophy at the DGC’s Lodhi Course on Sunday.

 

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Nitithorn Thippong(Asian Tour)

 

 

Clenched fist and a shy smile is all Nitithorn Thippong betrayed as his playoff putt comfortably settled in the 18th hole, winning him the inaugural DGC Open at the Lodhi Course here on Sunday. India's Ajeetesh Sandhu, who moved into the lead in the 14th hole with a crucial birdie, finished second, followed by Thailand's Settee Prakongvech.

Thippong and Sandhu parred the 15th hole, and a 16th-hole bogey from the former raised hopes of an Indian win. However, a double bogey on the 17th from Sandhu levelled the scores again.

The Indian started the final hole with a wild drive that went to the right of the fairway past the cart path, but a good chip earned him a birdie. Thippong responded with a birdie of his own to force a playoff, which he aced with a brilliant second shot that set up the birdie winner.

“I wanted a lay-up, but my caddie forced me to take a three-wood,” the 25-year-old said. The well-placed approach shot put him in a 15-feet eagle position, and Thippong sealed the title with a five-foot birdie. “I didn't lose my mind. I just focussed on my processes. I was not putting too well, so I just tried to hit the green and make the par,” he added.

For Sandhu, the wait for his second Asian Tour win continues. The Chandigarh-based golfer’s last title on the Tour came in 2017 in Taiwan. His last PGTI title was the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational in Chandigarh 2019.

Reflecting on his game, Sandhu said, “On the 17th, I tried to hit a shot that was not a high percentage one. I tried to move it with the wind to go into the flag but just didn’t make a good swing. On the playoff hole, I hit a good drive that landed on the fairway and just took off to the right. So, I got a little unlucky there."

“It was a good week. Looking back, I’ll definitely take a lot from it. I was struggling with my ball-striking recently but managed to turn it around this week. I was very comfortable with my hitting all week, especially on a course like this and with all the pressure of the last two days. I hit it well today even though the pin positions were quite tough. Now I just need to sharpen my putting,” Sandhu added.

Standings: (Indians otherwise given): 281 (-7) Nitithorn Thippong (THA) 68 + 70 + 70 + 73; 281 (-7) Ajeetesh Sandhu 69 + 68 + 73 + 71; 282 (-6) Settee Prakongvech (THA) 71 + 70 + 70 + 71; 284 (-4) Gaganjeet Bhullar 73 + 66 + 73 + 72; 285 (-3) Justin Quiban (Philippines) 74 + 72 + 69 + 70.

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