Viraj Madappa and Rashid Khan kept their nerves and held their rivals at bay to earn the coveted Asian Games berths in golf after a gruelling five-round affair, on Saturday. From the women’s section, amateur Avani Prashanth booked her ticket to the Games. Avani continued her impressive march as she shot a steady final round of 1-under 71 and finished ahead of Jahanvi Bakshi, who, after four identical cards of 69, shot 70 on the final day.

Madappa, who shot each of his five rounds under par with cards of 66-68-71-69-67, pipped Rashid to the post as four best rounds were counted and for that he was two ahead.

Of his five rounds, Madappa’s third round of 71 was discarded, while in the case of Rashid (68-73-67-66-71), the second round was discarded. That left Madappa with a total of 18-under 270, while Rashid’s total was 16-under 272.

Avani’s total of four best rounds was 14-under 274, while Jahanvi’s four best rounds added up to 12-under 276. Hitaashee Bakshi, whose 66 was the best final round card, had the third best total of 6-under 282 for four rounds.

Sixteen men competed for two berths in the men’s section and 11 women competed for one berth.

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Anirban Lahiri and Shubhankar Sharma, the top two world ranked Indians among men, and Aditi Ashok and Tvesa Malik, the top two world ranked women were given direct berths into the Asian Games teams.

As Madappa had seven birdies against one double bogey, Rashid had three birdies and one bogey.

Karandeep Kochhar had a final round of 71, which was his worst of the week, and his earlier four rounds gave him a total of 14-under 274, while amateur Krishnav Nikhil Chopra shot a 67 on the final day and finished fourth with a score of 10-under 278 for four best rounds. His earlier rounds were 72-69-71-71.

Tied for fourth with Chopra was Veer Ahlawat (66-73-69-71-72). Udayan Mane, the only player other than Madappa and Kochhar, to have five under-par rounds was sixth with a best four round total of 9-under 279.

Yuvraj Sandhu seemed to be in the running till he bogeyed the eighth and followed it up with quadruple bogey 9 on Par-5 ninth hole. That ended all his hopes and he was T-7 at 8-under 280 alongside S Chikkarangappa and Khalin Joshi.

The Asian Games are scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, China from September 10 to 25.

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