Chikka clinches Golconda Masters

Chikka clinches Golconda Masters

Bengaluru's S Chikkarangappa pulled out a flawless final round six-under 65 to emerge triumphant by two shots at PGTI's season-opening Golconda Masters Golf Championship here on Saturday.

Chikkarangappa's career-graph has been on the upswing since he ended a two-year long title-drought on the PGTI in November last year.

He followed that up with a runner-up finish at an Asian Tour event in Mauritius that helped him seal his card in Asia.

The 25-year-old then posted another second-place finish at the PGTI's season-ending event in December.

On Saturday, Chikkarangappa sealed his 12th career win with a score of 20-under 264 at the Hyderabad Golf Club (HGC).

Patna's Aman Raj produced the last day's best round of seven-under 64 to finish joint runner-up at 18-under-266 along with Bengaluru's M Dharma (69).

Chikkarangappa (65-64-70-65), lying tied second, two off the lead, had a roaring start as he landed his second shot within four feet on the first and second holes to score birdies on both holes and take the early lead even as overnight leader Dharma dropped a bogey on the second.

There was no looking back for Chikkarangappa from there on since he added two more birdies on the eighth and ninth, both being tap-ins.

Another fruitful spell came about with birdies on the 11th and 12th where the two-time Asian Development Tour (ADT) winner knocked in his longest putts of the day from nine feet and 15 feet respectively.

Chikkarangappa then made pars all the way till the end for a clinical finish as his nearest rivals struggled to catch up.

The Asian Tour regular thus picked up 5 world ranking points in the first ever PGTI event to be part of the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) system. He also leads the PGTI Order of Merit with earnings of Rs 6,46,600 from the season-opener.

"I had an outstanding week with as many as 28 birdies. I attribute my performance to my much-improved ball-striking. My tee shots and approach shots were terrific today," said a delighted Chikkarangappa.

"I really wanted to finish well at the HGC as my previous best here had been 10th at the inaugural edition. That thought motivated me to give it my best today since I also knew that I will need a bogey-free effort.

"The win at the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational in Chandigarh in November last year just got me on a roll and put my golfing career back on track. I've been playing some of my best golf since then. This win serves as a perfect start to the season."

Aman gained six spots from his overnight tied eighth after an error-free fourth round of 64.

M Dharma, the third round leader by two shots, dropped to tied second on day four after a 69 that featured four birdies and two bogeys.

Chandigarh's Karandeep Kochhar (69) took fourth place at 16-under-268 while the trio consisting of last year's champion Udayan Mane of Ahmedabad, Gurugram-based rookie Priyanshu Singh and Delhi's Honey Baisoya shared fifth place at 15-under-269.