Chikka reigns supreme

Chikka reigns supreme

Golf Eagleburg Masters : Youngster scores gritty two-shot win at home

Chikka reigns supreme

S Chikkaran-gappa kept his brilliant home record intact, winning a fine duel with M Dharma and Rahil Ganjee to emerge triumphant in the PGTI-Eagleburg Masters here on Friday.

With all the three players from the leadergroup in fray for the title almost until the end, the 22-year-old Chikkarangappa found that extra will -- like he always does at his home course The Eagleton Golf Resort -- to complete another emotional victory.

Determined not to concede control of his home territory despite struggling with his short game for the better part of the week, Chikkarangappa sank two birdies when it mattered most  -- 15th and 17th -- to card a brilliant under-pressure five-under 67 (273) for a two-shot win.

Dharma (69), who practiced with Chikkarangappa over the last three weeks under the supervision of Vijay Divecha in a bid to rediscover his ‘A’ game, finished tied second along with Gangjee (70) after failing to nail a single birdie over the last eight holes.

The 38-year-old Gangjee, who shot into a surprise one-shot lead ahead of the final round, frittered away the advantage on the opening hole itself when he three-putted for a bogey. He was soon playing catch-up after missing a four-foot par putt on the third hole as Chikkarangappa and Dharma took one-shot lead without doing much themselves.

Chikkarangappa and Dharma then took lead alternatively with two birdies each -- the former on fourth and seventh and the latter on sixth and eighth. Gangjee too put himself back in the mix with birdies on the seventh and ninth as a fascinating contest ensued. 

All three players birdied the 10th but Chikkarangappa sneaked ahead with a fine birdie on the 11th. The youngster, however, put himself in a spot when erroneous hitting cost him a shot on the 14th as he and Dharma stood level on scores.

Having waged many a battle, Chikkrangappa quickly put the disappointment of the 14th behind by getting onto the green on the par-5 15th in two shots. He easily two-putted from 50 feet to take one shot advantage and then swung the contest in his favour by driving onto the green on the par-4 17th. He two-putted from 25 feet and then parred the 18th as ace golfer Anirban Lahiri and coach Divecha applauded.

“With the way I putted this week, I still can’t believe that I shot a 15-under. I had a good practice session with Anirban and Vijay (sir) yesterday. Both of them suggested some minor adjustments in my putting that worked out well for me. I think the birdie conversion from 12 feet on the fourth was the crucial moment of the day as it lifted my morale early in the round,” said a delighted Chikkarangappa.

Leading scores (after 72 holes): 273: S Chikkarangappa (67, 69, 70, 67); 275: M Dharma (65, 73, 68, 69), Rahil Gangjee (68, 72, 65, 70); 278: Abhinav Lohan (72, 65, 71, 70); 279: Manu Gandas (70, 71, 69, 69); 280: Shamim Khan (72, 65, 71, 72), Shankar Das (66, 72, 69, 73).

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