Chikkarangappa swamps Mauritius Open with birdies

Chikkarangappa is enjoying the rhythm of his new swing. The 25-year-old Indian golfer fired a brilliant 64 to take a share of the lead at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open

Chikkarangappa was piping hot during his 64 at the Mauritius Open

Asian Tour Release, 29 November 2018: India’s Chikkarangappa S. shot one of the best rounds of his professional career, carding an eight-under-par 64 to grab a share of the lead at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open on Thursday.

The 25-year-old was brilliant from tee to green throughout the day, which led to a bogey-free round at the Four Seasons Golf Club, Mauritius at Anahita.

Chikkarangappa’s confidence is sky-high after making adjustments to his swing. The Indian golfer, who was victorious at an event on his local circuit recently, is determined to end his season on a high by winning the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, or one of the remaining tournaments on the Asian Tour schedule.

Also in tied-first is France’s Victor Perez. He enjoyed a near flawless round, trading nine birdies against a lone bogey.

Viraj Madappa is in T13 with a 68 to his name. Ajeetesh Sandhu made 69 while Udayan Mane started the week with a 70. Karandeep Kochhar (72) and Arjun Atwal (73) will have to work extra hard on Friday to avoid the knife. Aman Raj shot a 75, with Samarth Dwivedi a further stroke back at 76. Khalin Joshi and Jyoti Randhawa made 77 each. Himmat Rai retired owing to an injury.

Kurt Kitayama of the United States, Masahiro Kawamura of Japan and Jaco Van Zyl of South Africa are one shot behind the leaders in tied-third.

Sweden’s Malcolm Kokocinski, who won on the Asian Tour for the first time this season, is also right in the mix after carding a 67 to finish the day in tied-sixth.

Justin Harding of South Africa continued his resplendent form this season and signed for a 67. Harding, third on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings, got away with a bogey on the 16th after a wayward drive. He left the golf course with a broad smile on his face after chipping in for eagle on the 18th.

Did you know:

  • Chikkarangappa S. is a two-time winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), the feeder tour to the Asian Tour.
  • He was the number one golfer on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) in 2015.
  • He secured an Asian Tour card for the 2018 season last year on the number.
  • Chikkarangappa S. had humble beginnings, working as a ball boy and earning US$1 a day.
  • Kurt Kitayama’s first foray into the Asian Tour has led to three top-10s. He is currently 20th on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings.
  • Masahiro Kawamura made his The Open debut this year.
  • Malcolm Kokocinski was leading the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit before his breakthrough victory at the Bangladesh Open this year.
  • He seemed to have turned his season around in Mauritius. After his victory in Bangladesh, the Swede has yet to secure a top-10 finish.
  • Justin Harding is one of the Asian Tour’s best performers this season, evident from his third-placing on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings. He is also the leader on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.
  • He won the Bank BRI Indonesia Open and followed by the Royal Cup two weeks later. With that, became the first golfer in Tour history to win twice in his first two starts.
  • Following his Royal Cup win, he broke into the top-100 on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) and earned a spot at the PGA Championship.

Players’ Quotes

Chikkarangappa S. (Ind) – First round 64 (-8)

It was a “dream come true” round today. I hit the ball great, putted really well, kept the ball on the fairway which is key to scoring here, hit 13 fairways, hit almost every green in regulation and made 25 putts. Everything was perfect today.

I was first reserve last year and I didn’t get into the event. I had to go back home, with tears in my eyes. I was playing really solid and was eager to get the chance to play. This year, I was really looking forward to coming and I’m here this week.

Right now, I’m looking to get a win in the remaining three events on the Asian Tour. I’m not thinking of securing my card. I’ve been through the situation last year and made it on the number, and I don’t want to go through it again. The best is just to win an event. If I win here, I’ll get a card both on the Asian Tour and European Tour, and that’s what I’m looking at.

I’m going to stick to my same plan. Good tee shops and hole putts. The weather just needs to stay the same and the good scores will come tomorrow.

I’ve been playing well, having won the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational back home. I’ve changed my golf swing to the way I used to play. I wasn’t feeling comfortable and I made the changes about seven weeks back. Then I won a tournament and last week, I played really well, just that I got punished by kicks and bad lies. I know myself, that I’m playing well and hitting the ball great. This has been the best situation for the last two years.

Victor Perez (Fra) – First round 64 (-8)

I’ve been playing a lot of good golf lately. It’s been a really good streak, a little hard to believe in golf when we know how the highs and the lows can be. I’m trying to ride this wave out as long as possible and it showed again in this first round.

I don’t really know what was going right, I was kind of in the zone. I was just trying to go shot after shot. There were some opportunities out there with no wind on the par fives. I drove the second in two, hitting driver on my second shot gave me a tap-in for birdie.

After missing a short putt for birdie on one, that kept the round going after birdieing 18, I missed that opportunity after the turn on one and the birdie on two really kept it going. Then I was able to birdie three, four and nine to finish which was awesome.

I came here two years ago for a small French event. I think I finished third or fourth so I have good memories of this golf course and I was able to use some of the good visuals that I remembered, which was awesome.

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