Kapur wins duel at the Royal Cup

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Shiv Kapur of India holds up the champion’s trophy after winning the Royal Cup golf tournament at Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club in Pattaya, Sunday, December 31.
Shiv Kapur of India holds up the champion’s trophy after winning the Royal Cup golf tournament at Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club in Pattaya, Sunday, December 31.

Shiv Kapur of India emerged triumphant and won his third Asian Tour title in 2017 at the US$500,000 Royal Cup in Pattaya after he closed the tournament with a four-under-par 67 to finish 14-under-par 270.

Sunday, December 31, was billed as a duel between Kapur and Thailand’s Prom Meesawat as the pair emerged from the pack after round three.  At the start of the final round, Prom was two shots ahead of Kapur, who was himself four shots ahead of the rest of the field.  However, Prom lost his advantage as early as the second hole at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club.  After pulling to the left, Prom had to settle for a bogey at the par-three hole, while Kapur knocked in a birdie.

Prom’s further bogeys on the fifth and ninth handed Kapur the lead, but the 33-year-old Thai managed to shake off his nerves after the turn and it was all square again following consecutive birdies on the 11th and 12th.

Kapur did himself no favours when he bogeyed the 13th and 14th and in the process, handed Prom a two-shot lead again.

“Standing on the 15th tee, I told my caddie that we’re not going to go down without a fight.  Let’s make a birdie here and see what happens or at least give myself a chance going into the last two holes,” said Shiv.

Kapur bounced back remarkably with two consecutive birdies of his own and it was back to a deadlock.  With Prom bogeying the 17th, the door was left open for Shiv to win the Royal Cup, and he did.

“I had a good up and down on the 17th and Prom kind of handed me the tournament as he three putted there.  At the 18th, I thought he was a bit unluckily.  Prom is a steely competitor and I’m lucky to come out on top,” said the Indian champion.

Prom Meesawat of Thailand plays a bunker shot during the final round of the Royal Cup in Pattaya.
Prom Meesawat of Thailand plays a bunker shot during the final round of the Royal Cup in Pattaya.

Indeed, Prom nearly forced a playoff as he narrowly missed a birdie putt at the last hole of the tournament.  He finished with a 70 for a four round total of 271.

It was a good battle with Shiv,” said Prom later.  “It was disappointing for sure as I thought I made the putt for birdie to force a playoff at the 18th.  Anyway, it was a good tournament for me.  It is always good to end the year with a second-place finish.”

India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar carded a final round 66 to take third place.
India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar carded a final round 66 to take third place.

Gaganjeet Bhullar of India carded a 66 to cement third place while Thai legend Prayad Marksaeng and Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang, who won on the same golf course the previous year, shared fourth place.

(Report & Photos courtesy Asian Tour)