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Written by: Anjali Mishra
Veer Ahlawat of Gurgaon, 25, earned a creditable 8th at the Asian Tour's season-opening US$ 1 million Blue Canyon Championship in Phuket, with rounds of 67-67 to add to his opening two rounds of 70.
Ahlawat's welcome pay of US$ 22,950 (Rs 17.2 lacs) is well-deserved after seven top-five finishes in his last 15 races back in India. He also finished eighth in the Asian Tour's 2019 Panasonic Open India, which was held at the ITC Classic in Gurgaon.
The revival of the Asian Tour will provide excellent possibilities for Indian players who have been limited to a few events at home in the last two years due to the pandemic's financial impact.
Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei won the US$1 million Blue Canyon Phuket Championship today after a thrilling finish, becoming the Asian Tour's first champion after a 20-month break due by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He played a four-under-par 68 in the final round to finish on 18 under par, one shot ahead of Thailand's Sadom Kaewkanjana and Korea's Joohyung Kim.
On the renowned Canyon Course at Blue Canyon Country Club, Sadom shot a 67 while Kim shot a 66.
“I am so happy to be back after the problems everyone has had with COVID. My front nine was not very good but an eagle on nine turned things around.” said Chan
Chan won two Asian Tour championships in 2016, the first in the King's Cup in Thailand and the second in the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup. He has also won six times on the Asian Development Tour, the most recent of which was in 2018.
Sadom was aiming for his fifth victory in as many months, having won four times on the All Thailand Golf Tour, including the Thailand Open, and has now gone 20 rounds without shooting over par.
“I tried my best, I came so close,” said Sadom, who birdied three on the trot from seven and then birdied 13, 15 and 16 before his problems on 18, where he hit a wayward tee shot left.
“It’s disappointing to bogey 18 but I will learn from it and come back stronger next week.”
Six-time winner on Asian Tour and 2016 Olympian SSP Chawrasia, who did manage to play in Europe in the last 18 months, welcomed the return to action on Asian Tour.
"I think it is a great relief for hundreds of players in Asia. I had quite a few starts in Europe, but for many Indians and players from elsewhere in Asia, the Asian Tour is crucial. So from that point of view this is great news." S Chikkarangappa, one of the leading Indian stars on Asian Tour was thrilled.
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