PGTi Chennai Open: Mithun Perera wins

Wards off a stiff challenge from Thangaraja for a triumph after four years

Mithun Perera couldn’t control his emotions, how much ever he tried. After a par on the 465-yard 18th hole — he also finished the day at par-70 — the 31-year-old Sri Lankan dropped a tear or two at the Madras Gymkhana Club Annexe here on Sunday, before being congratulated by a handful of followers.

The hard-earned one-stroke win (four-day total of 14-under 266) ended a four-year win-less streak. His sixth PGTI title didn’t come easy as Mithun had to ward off a tough challenge from his Sri Lankan friend N. Thangaraja, defending champion Mukesh Kumar and Digvijay Singh. Mukesh and Digvijay finished joint second at 13-under 267 while Thangaraja had to settle for fourth.

“It feels amazing,” said Perera. “It was a frustrating period [not able to win for four years]. I would like to thank my sponsors and my parents. There were a lot of emotions. I was crying. It is really an important win.”

Mithun, Thangaraja and Veer Ahlawat were in the same group that started the day’s proceedings. Veer wasn’t in his elements as he putted poorly to fade out. And it turned out to be a keen battle between the two Sri Lankans.

Thangaraja had a good front nine as he fired an eagle on the fifth followed by three birdies to finish at four-under, while Perera just about managed a par in the first nine.

In fact, Thangaraja was consistent, if not great, on the back nine, and was was leading by a stroke till the 14th hole. The 36-year-old then suffered a double bogey on the 15th and a bogey again on the 16th saw him lose the edge.

“He (Thangaraja) opened the door for me. He made a double bogey and I didn’t leave it. I just hung in there,” said Mithun.

Digvijay, who was tied 13th overnight, carded the day’s best score of 62, to jump to second position, along with Mukesh who performed well with a score of 66.

The scores (final day): 1. Mithun Perera (SL) 266 (68, 63, 65,70); 2. Digvijay Singh 267 (70, 66, 69, 62), Mukesh Kumar (66, 66, 69, 66), 4. N. Thangaraja (SL) 268 (61, 70, 68, 69), 5. Shamim Khan 270 (64, 69, 68, 69); 6. Sujjan Singh 271 (67, 6670, 68); 7. Ranjit Singh 272 (70, 66, 67, 69), Vikrant Chopra (66, 65, 70, 71); 9. Feroz Singh Garewal 273 (68, 66, 69, 70), Veer Ahlawat (70, 67, 63, 73).

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