09 February 2019: The PGTI TOUR heralded its first champion of the season when S Chikkarangappa swept to a comfortable two-stroke victory at the Golconda Masters. The event in Hyderabad marked the first ever domestic Indian tournament to offer Official World Golf Ranking points, five of them to the winner.
Chikarangappa took home the silverware with a spotless 65 in the final round on Sunday. Aman Raj produced his third 64 of the week, but the third round 74 haunted him into a tie for second with M Dharma who made scores of 64-64-69-69 to secure a share of the second place. Chikkarangappa made scores of 65-64-70-65 for a winning total of 20-under 264.
“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. 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,” said Chikkrangappa.
“The relatively short birdie putts on the front-nine had eased the pressure on me. After my sixth birdie of the day on the 12th, I felt I needed two more birdies to seal it because I didn’t want a close finish or a playoff. I didn’t manage those birdies despite trying hard but I still played well on the final stretch to keep my lead.
“The supportive crowd kept me going with their cheering. The huge gallery inspired me to try a fancy second shot on the 15th which came off just as I had intended it to. I landed the ball on the rock beside the green and the ball deflected back on to the green to set up a two-putt for par.
“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. I’m delighted to be the winner of the PGTI’s first ever event with world ranking points. This will go down in history.”
Karandeep Kochhar continued to impress with some polished golf. The young professional sandwiched a pair of 66s in the middle rounds with scores of 67 and 69 in the opening and final rounds to seal the fourth spot. At 16-under, Karandeep was two behind the two men in second place.
Defending champion Udayan Mane finished in a tie for fifth with Honey Baisoya and rookie Priyanshu Singh. The result will help each of these golfers leapfrog their peers on the OWGR ranking charts when the new chart is out on Monday.
Chikkarangappa will go past Viraj Madappa, moving from 461 to somewhere between 320-330 on the strength of his five-point bonus at the Hyderabad Golf Club.
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