Udayan Mane. FilePic
Phuket, Thailand, May 13: Udayan Mane was on a song as he carried on from where he left last week. The Olympian carded 8-under 63 to move to the top of the Blue Canyon Classic, the third leg of the Beautiful Thailand Swing in Phuket co-sanctioned by the Asian Development Tour (ADT) and MENA Tour.
The 31-year-old from Pune Mane closed the last week’s event with a 63 and finished T-7 and now he has started the event in top place. Mane had six birdies and an eagle.
There was a strong Indian presence in Top-5 as Kartik Sharma (66) and M Dharma carded 66 each to be Tied-eighth. The other Indians were Yashas Chandra (68) in T-22, Yuvraj Sandhu (70) in T-49, Divyanshu Bajaj (71) in T-66, Chiragh Kumar (76) in T-124, Karan Vasudeva (77) in T-131
Last December, Mane won Professional Golf Tour of India’s (PGTI) Tour Championship beating a star-studded field of top Indian stars that included Shubhankar Sharma, S.S.P Chawrasia, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Rashid Khan and Veer Ahlawat in Jamshedpur. Though it was his 12th PGTI win, he felt he was ready for the next level, but he was unable to get there.
Mane, the world No. 570, blazed around the Lakes layout at Blue Canyon Country Club in 63 to lead Thailand’s Chanat Sakulpolphaisan and China’s Chen Guxin by one shot.
Mane’s eight-under score included six birdies and an eagle on the 11th when he drove it to just shy of the green on the par-4 and chipped in. Afterwards, the Indian rewound the clock to the PGTI Tour Championship with the beauty of hindsight.
“It (the PGTI Tor Championship) was the biggest win of my career and it did give me confidence but I started to take things for granted and I paid the price,” Mane said. “I just expected to show up and be in contention, not consciously but the attitude was such. I did struggle, anyone would. Got a wake-up call and started to work at it again.”
He added, “Anyway, this is me trying to get to the top again. The goal this year is to play everything I get into and perform. Simple.”
Sakulpolphaisan, meanwhile, is making a lovely habit of hovering atop or very near the summit of ADT leader boards. The 31-year-old Thai made light of a blustery and sometimes wet Phuket morning to card a 64 and secure the clubhouse lead until Mane came in with a wet sail late in the evening.
Like Mane, Sakulpolphaisan’s seven-under circuit included six birdies and a hole-out eagle.