California, USA (CU)_ Manav Shah, an Indian American golfer, bagged his breakthrough victory at the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s Quito Open. Shah was born in the United States following his parents’ relocation from Mumbai. He defeated Joel Thelen and Mitchell Meissner by two strokes to win the championship. Following the victory, Shah said, “I speak the language (Hindi) also and would love to play in India or Asian Tour in that part of the world.”
Following the first round, Shah topped with a score of 63, but dropped in the second and was unable to complete the third round on the following day due to bad weather that suspended play. He needed to complete the remaining six holes of his third round the next day, and he shot a 4-under 68. He began his final round after a few hours and gave his best performance by shooting a 66 to win by two strokes. Late in the round, Shah shot a bogey-free 66 to pull away from a bunched leaderboard.
The victory elevated Shah to 8th position on the PGA Latinoamerica Tour’s Totalplay Cup Points List. With four events remaining in the season, he is in a strong position to qualify for a top-five place. The top five players on the list receive Korn Ferry status, which is the gateway to the PGA Tour. Shah, who is a UCLA graduate, often visits Mumbai to meet his family and relatives, particularly his maternal grandmother.
Shah became the second Indian-American to secure a sanctioned PGA Tour event. Akshay Bhatia, a southpaw, bagged The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour at Sandals Emerald Bay in January of this year. This victory made Bhatia the third-youngest player, who is only 19 years and 11 months, to win a Korn Ferry Tour event since the Tour’s inception in 1990.