Arjun Atwal wins Chattanooga Classic
Indian golfer Arjun Atwal on Sunday claimed his first victory in United States after winning the Nationwide Tour’s Chattanooga Classic in Tennessee. And with this he now ensured his place for the US PGA Tour next season.
The 2003 Asian Tour number one birdied the first hole of a sudden-death shoot-out to prevail over American Webb Simpson and the winner's cheque of US$90,000 pushed him up from 34th to 15th on the Nationwide Tour money list.
The top-25 players will earn their PGA Touring cards for 2009 and with only two events remaining, Atwal, the first Indian to play on the PGA Tour in 2004, has virtually regained his card.
Atwal carded rounds of 66, 60, 66 and 72 for a 264 winning total. He was tied at 24 under 264 along with Webb Simpson after the regulation 72 holes. In the final round the Florida-based professional made an eagle on the sixth, knocked down birdies on the fifth, 12th, 18th and bogeyed the fourth, 10th, 13th besides dropping a double bogey on the 16th.
“I've been working for this my entire career,” said Atwal, “I've had a few things going on away from the course. To finally win in America feels really good and getting my card back on the PGA Tour will be a sweet bonus.”
Currently ranked fourth on the Asian Tour's Order of Merit, Arjun has had a great 2008 season with victory at the Maybank Malaysian Open earlier this year. Besides, Atwal’s other top performances in the year 2008 have been tied second at the Movistar Panama Championship, tied fourth at the Henrico County Open, tied eighth at the BMW Charity Pro-Am, tied ninth at the Knoxville Open and tied 10th at the Enjoy Jakarta Astro Indonesia Open.
Ajai Gupta, Tour Commissioner of the PGTI, lauded Atwal’s achievement, saying, “Arjun Atwal’s triumph at the Chattanooga Classic is yet another milestone for Indian professional golf. This is the first win by an Indian in the United States and is sure to inspire Arjun and many other Indian golfers to scale greater heights in the future.”
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