Chikka banking on form

Chikka banking on form

Gauri and Gurbani tipped to take Shreya the distance

 S ChikkarangappaWhile the season-ending 110th all-India Men’s amateur championship will be held at the Karnataka Golf Association from February 1-6, the ladies version, in its 94th edition, will run on the same dates at the Bangalore Golf Club.

As has been the case over the years, the tournament will be a mixture of strokeplay and matchplay. On the first two days, the golfers will compete in the strokeplay format with the top 32 men and top 16 women qualifying for the knockout matchplay format. The pre-quarterfinals, quarterfinals and semifinals will be played over 18 holes each, while the final on Sunday will cover 36 holes.

“The matchplay format is very demanding and punishing, and offers very little chance for error,” said defending champion S Chikkarangappa. “You can bounce back in a strokeplay tournament but in matchplay, a bad day means you are out of the event. You have to be at your best throughout and I am looking forward to defending my title. What better place to do it than at home?

“I am really confident of putting up a fine show. I have worked hard on improving my fitness. The KGA is almost like my second home and hopefully, my familiarity with the difficult course and home support should take me the distance,” added Chikkarangappa.
Familiarity aside, the 17-year-old has been in good form of late and stopping him from retaining his crown should pose a big test for the likes of Asian Games team silver winners Abhinav Lohan, Abhijit Singh Chadha and Rahul Bajaj, as well as the peaking Trishul Chinnappa.

Among the ladies, defending champion Shreya Ghei will lead the field that is packed with girls from the north, expecially Delhi. Having not played much this season, the 17-year-old should face a strong challenge from the talented duo of Gauri Monga and Gurbani Singh.

While Gauri has won five titles this season to her cling on to the top spot in the Order of Merit, Gurbani has won thrice including the All-India Junior crown. Other girls who could pose a surprise are Bangalore’s Nikita Arjun and Aditi Ashok, as well as Mehar Atwal and Vani Kapoor.