Chance for Chikka, Joshi to make a big impact

Chance for Chikka, Joshi  to make a big impact

 Local pros S Chikkarangappa and Khalin Joshi have an opportunity to add a glorious chapter to their fledgling careers when the Take Solution India Masters kicks off here at the Eagleton Golf Resort on Wednesday.

For a City deprived of top quality international pro golfing events despite being home to 2009 Indian Open winner C Muniyappa and five-time Asian Tour winner Anirban Lahiri, the India Masters, the country’s first Asian Development Tour event, provides the talented duo a perfect stage to kick themselves into the next level.

Both Chikkarangappa and Khalin, who have been spoken about highly since their amateur days, come into the USD 70,000 event on the back of a good season and playing on a course they know like the back of their hands. They are the favourites even in a field containing two-time European Tour winner SSP Chowrasia and Asian Tour triumphants Muniyappa and Himmat Singh Rai.

Chikkarangappa has built well on the strong foundation that he had set during the PGTI last season. With two wins so far -- the Surya Nepal Masters and Kashmir Masters -- Chikkarangappa has doubled the number of victories as compared to his debut season in 2013 and lies fourth in the Order of Merit List.

Having learnt his game at the very course where he finished seventh at the Eagleburg Masters at that start of this month, 21-year-old Chikkar­angappa knows a victory in front of some his childhood friends could go a long way in defining his career.

Khalin, although hailing from Karnataka Golf Associaiton, has played enough golf at Eagleton and can easily call it as his second home. The 22-year-old, after coming close a few times, finally broke his title drought with a gritty victory 11 days ago at the PGTI Players Championship in Noida. 

Things, however, won’t be easy with Chowrasia, Muniyappa, Himmat, Anura Rohana, Manav Jaini and ADT regulars Niall Turner and Brett Munson set to pose a stiff challenge at the par-72 course. Chowrasia, whose transformation from a caddie to an European Tour winner sparked off many rags-to-riches stories, is slowly discovering the fire of the old following a period of lull.

Having narrowly missed out on a spot in the October 30-Nov 2 marque CIMB Classic -- a PGA Tour co-sanctioned event -- Chowrasia will be keen to make amends for the disappointment. The ever-smiling pro, however, has never played at the Eagleton and one needs to see how well he tackles that novelty.

Muniyappa, who scored his maiden pro victory at this course in 2009, has been struggling on his comeback from a career-threatening injury and this event could go some way in helping rediscover his form.  Rohana has been on the Indian circuit for a while now and with a victory at the Bilt Open earlier this month, the Sri Lankan knows how to flex his mucles in big events, especially in Bangalore where he has won twice.

Expansive Eagleton should play its typical self over the next four days. With its wide fairways and no major obstacles, it will aid the big hitters but the grainy greens will pose a stern test. While it appears not-so-challenging in appearance, many pros have often come dumbfounded with its tricky breaks. 

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