May 23: Rahil Gangjee missed the Top-10 by a whisker but logged his best result of 2021 as he finished T-11 in the Golf Partner Pro-Am Tournament in Ibaraki, Japan. Adding to a fine week was that his friend, Shaun Norris, won the title in a three-way play-off. It was Norris’ fifth win in Japan.
Norris, who was without his caddie this week and pushed his electric cart himself, then received an offer from Gangjee’s caddie, Raghu, for the play-offs. Norris, whose regular caddie had. fallen ill this week, took the offer and won in the second play-off hole beating Scott Vincent and Tomohiro Otsuki. It was also a slightly delayed birthday present for Norris, who turned 29 on May 14.
Earlier Gangjee returned a fine card of 5-under. 65 on another low scoring day and finished at 17-under for the week.
Gangjee was playing in his sixth start in 2021. After finishes of T-47 at Kansai Open, T-29 at Crowns and T-53 at Asia-Pacific Diamond, the T-11 will come as a morale booster for Gangjee, who is next week due to play in the Gateway to Open Mizuno Open.
Norris, the tall and well-built South African notched up his fifth Japan Tour win as he beat Otsuki and Vincent after they were tied at 21-under when Otsuki bogeyed the final hole.
“I wish my brother and caddie was here with me to celebrate,” said Shaun, who also appreciated the offer by Gangjee’s caddie to carry the bag for the playoffs. “My good friend Rahil Gangjee’s caddie offered to carry for me. I want to invite him to dinner later.”
Norris, starting out five shots behind the leader, had six birdies and an eagle against one bogey. Three birdies in a row from first gave him the momentum and he rode it. His best previous in 2021 was last week’s T-13 at Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup.
The highlight of Norris’ round was an eagle from 16 feet on the 10th. Then on 17th, he drained the 10-foot birdie to finish his round at total 21 under.
Norris and Vincent had finished at 21-under while Ostuki, who lead from the start on Day One, bogeyed the final 18th and it led to a play-off.
Seven players including Ryo Ishikawa, Angelo Que, Eric Sugimoto, Kazuki Higa, Young-Han Song, Shotaro Wada and Hirotaro Naito all finished at 4T with 19 under.