Ahmedabad eye fourth title

Golf Louis Philippe Cup : Holders will have to be wary of a formidable Chennai side

Ahmedabad eye fourth title
 A confident Navratna Ahmedabad will be fancying their chances of securing a fourth title while a strong TAKE Chennai will be gunning for revenge when the fifth Louis Philippe Cup tees off here on Wednesday.

Last June at the very same Karnataka Golf Association, Chennai, boasting of the same three players -- S Chikkarangappa, Khalin Joshi and SSP Chawrasia -- had one hand on the trophy when they started the final day proceedings with a handsome five-shot lead.

With Ahmedabad -- incidentally featuring the same triumvirate of Mithun Perera, Anura Rohana and Shankar Das -- struggling to cope with the conditions on the opening nine, it seemed favourites Chennai would waltz their way to victory.

However, things changed dramatically over the last nine holes as Perera and Rohana set KGA on fire with some sizzling shots and Ahmedabad finished level on scores with Chennai from nowhere before being declared champions on virtue of better final round scores.

“We played well last year but were gutted to lose the title at the finish line,” said Chikkarangappa. “Kudos to Ahmedabad. The way Anura and Mithun played was outstanding. You can’t do much when someone keeps holing 15-footers, 20-footers and 25-footers every other hole. We are determined to win the title.”

On paper, Chennai appear the strongest among the eight teams in fray and they would be determined as ever to crown themselves in the Rs 1.2 crore event. Both Chikkarangappa and Joshi hail from Bengaluru, the latter a product of KGA. They know the course -- considered as one of the toughest in the country -- like the back of their hands and with Chawarasia showing signs of his old self, they appear very potent.

Not for nothing have Ahmedabad won four titles, including two wins at the KGA itself. They may not boast of star names but have worked fantastically as a team. Rohana and Perera have been playing on the domestic PGTI for nearly a decade now and have tasted individual success at the par-72 KGA. If Das can play a perfect supporting cast, it would take some effort from the others to stop them for going the distance again.

DLF-The Crest Gurgaon, with veteran Ashok Kumar, talented Subhankar Sharma and Manu Gandas, and Laqshya Mumbai boasting of veteran Mukesh Kumar, Chiragh Kumar and Abhinav Lohan have the ammunition to spring a surprise.

Local team Zion Hills Bengaluru, featuring M Dharma, Rahil Gangjee and Abhijit Chadha, will have to play out of their skins if they hope to succeed.

As always, the key at KGA would be the short game with its president saying the greens have been made lightening quick.

An eye would be on the weather with rain being forecast for the rest of the week that could pose an added headache.

Thesquads

DLF-The Crest Gurgaon: Ashok Kumar, Subhankar Sharma, Manu Gandas.
Jaypee Greens Greater Noida: Shamim Khan, Udayan Mane, Mandeo Singh Pathania.
Laqshya Mumbai: Mukesh Kumar, Chiragh Kumar, Abhinav Lohan.
TAKE Chennai: SSP Chawrasia, Khalin Joshi, S Chikkarangappa.
Navratna Ahmedabad: Mithun Perera, Anura Rohana, Shankar Das.
Dev Chandigargh: Himmat Rai, Sujjan Singh, Amardip Malik.
Nsports Hyderabad: Gaganjeet Bhullar, Ajeetesh Sandhu, Om Prakash Chouhan.
Zion Hills Bengaluru: M Dharma, Rahil Gangjee, Abhijit Chadha.

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