India’s Gangjee ends long title drought in Japan

OSAKA: India’s Rahil Gangjee ended a 14-year title drought when he sank a decisive birdie on the final hole for a one-shot victory at the Panasonic Open in Osaka on Sunday.

Having endured years of frustrations, the 39-year-old hit his bunker shot to within 10 feet of the pin before holing it to complete a final round of three-under-par 68 and end his winless streak.

Gangjee aggregated 14-under-par 270 to finish ahead of the Korean duo of Hyungsung Kim (70) and Junggon Hwang (66) in the event co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Tour.

“It has been 14 years. I’ve been in such situations a few times now but obviously have not been able to convert my chances until today,” said Gangjee, whose last win on the Asian Tour came in 2004 in China.

“It has been a very hard 14 years and the thing that surprises even myself is my will to keep going.

“My heart rate was up, especially when I got to the green and I knew I had to get up and down. That’s where my heart started racing and my mind started going all over the place. That was the chance I had to convert.”

Zimbabwean Scott Vincent signed off with a 66 to finish in a share of fourth place, along with Thailand’s Rattanon Wannasrichan and Sihwan Kim of the United States.