Bengaluru-based amateur Aryan Roopa Anand (64-63-65-68) carded a last round of two-under 68 to end up as the wire-to-wire winner with an impressive six-shot margin at a total of 20-under 260 at the Final Qualifying Stage of the PGTI Qualifying School 2023 held here at the Tollygunge Club in Kolkata.
Twenty-one-year-old Aryan thus became the first amateur in six years to win the PGTI Qualifying School. The last amateur to win the Qualifying School was Dhruv Sheoran in 2017.
Faridabad's Karan Pratap Singh (68-65-65-68) finished as runner-up at 14-under 266 after he too returned a final round of 68.
Sri Lankan K Prabagaran (65-71-67-65) took third place at 12-under 268 following a bogey-free fourth round of 65 to end up as the best-performing foreign player.
The cut in the final round went at four over 284 with the top 34 players earning their full cards for the 2023 PGTI season. Among the six players tied at 32nd, the top three based on countback earned their full cards.
The top 34 included seven amateurs. There were also five foreigners (one each from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, USA and Canada) among the 34 players who earned their full cards.
Aryan Roopa Anand, the overnight leader by six shots who also led the field from the first round onwards, drove home the advantage in the fourth round trading five birdies for a bogey and a double-bogey.
Aryan, currently the leading amateur in the country and two-time All India Amateur champion, had a slow start with an early bogey on the third but got back into his stride with birdies on the sixth, 10th, 13th, 16th and 17th that included two long conversions from a range of 20 to 30 feet. He finally crossed the line with a comfortable six-shot margin despite the double-bogey on the 18th hole.
Aryan said, "My win is a big morale booster. As I look to begin my professional journey, this victory gives me a taste of what it is like to be on top in a professional event. I came into this week with no expectations and just focused on consistency and shooting low scores. I had set certain targets for myself and I was competing against myself rather than anyone else."
"It was a week of clean hitting and even when I was not at my best, I managed to grind it out. I was very pleased with my scoring as the total of 20-under is my personal best at a tournament. I would like to thank my team, family and friends for all their support over the years as that kept me in a good mental space," added Anand, who plays at the KGA in Bengaluru and is coached by Tarun Sardesai.
Runner-up Karan Pratap Singh's last round saw him make an eagle, three birdies and three bogeys as he bagged the top prize money cheque of Rs. 75,000 for finishing as the best professional. (ANI)