Bengaluru, India: Viraj Madappa delighted the home crowd when he closed with a four-under-par 67 to claim a two-shot victory for his first Asian Tour title at the US$350,000 TAKE Solutions Masters.
At the age of 20 years and nine months, Madappa, who came through the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January, became the youngest Indian to win on the Asian Tour.
Furthermore, Madappa is also the first rookie and youngest player to win on Tour this season.
For his breakthrough win at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) Golf Course, Madappa earned a cheque for US$63,000 and a one-year exemption on the Asian Tour.
Starting the final round two shots off the pace, Madappa reeled in six pars before dropping a shot on the seventh. He bounced back brilliantly with five birdies to post a winning total of 16-under-par 268.
Madappa said: “I am really surprised. It hasn’t sunk in yet and I’m feeling a lot of emotions. I don’t know which one to feel. I don’t know what to say. It’s been a roller-coaster since I came through the Qualifying School. I was playing good golf then but I went through a slump after that.
“I really worked hard with my coach and my whole team, just to keep me going. I am very happy that I did all the work. It has paid off.
“It’s incredible really. My family has been very supportive. My mum is here with me today. It was great to see all the kids from the academy out here. They were all between six to 15 years old. They were probably the loudest in the crowd. You could tell it was them in the crowd.
“I was riding off their energy. Winning the tournament did cross my mind when I birdied the 16th hole but I was just trying to stay in the present and hit every shot I could the right way. I think I did a good job there. I didn’t back off from the situation, even though I had the opportunity to lay up on 18th hole. I decided to go for the green and I’m proud that I made that decision.”
Argentinean Miguel Carballo, who held a one-shot lead heading into the final round, rode on a birdie-par-eagle finish to sign for a 71, sharing second place with Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent (68) and Thais Danthai Boonma (70) and Suradit Yongcharoenchai (66).
Home favourites Khalin Joshi, Honey Baisoya and SSP Chawrasia settled for a share of sixth place on 272.
Thai Pasavee Lertvilai recorded the second ace of the week on the par-three fourth hole after hitting an eight-iron from 180 yards. It was his third hole-in-one recorded in a professional tournament. Pasavee ended his campaign in tied-33rd place on 280 following a 70.