19 April 2019: After an even 69 in the final round, joint leaders C Muniyappa and S Chikkarangappa needed to duel in a playoff to determine the winner of the Delhi-NCR Open Golf Championship. The contest spilt into a fourth playoff hole before Chikkarangappa prevailed to collect his third title in the past six months. Since winning the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational, he also has a victory at the Golconda Masters, the first ever event on the PGTI Tour to offer OWGR points.
Interestingly, Chikkarangappa golfer has won each of his five playoffs on the PGTI Tour. No playoff had ever stretched to a fourth hole in the young history of the Indian tour.
On an intense day of back and forth battle, both men began the day with birdies at the first hole. But it was Chikka that drew clear with his third birdie of the day at the fourth hole.
If Chikka conceded a stroke on the par-3 third hole, Muniyappa paid his dues at the par-4 ninth hole. As the two men made the turn, it was Chikka who remained one shot clear, taking 32 strokes to 33 by Muniyappa.
As the tension built up on the final stretch, a bogey by Muniyappa at the tenth pushed him back two strokes behind Chikka. But a generous double bogey at the par-4 15th hole brought the contest back on an even keel.
A birdie at the par-5 17th helped Chikkarangappa golfer take what appeared a potentially decisive advantage. But Muniyappa proved resilient, making a brilliant birdie on the 18th, under the gun, to force a playoff.
“I’m delighted to win at the NGC on my return to this venue after five years. I did the basics well this week. I was very good off the tee and found most fairways. It’s just amazing to win my third title since November and my second this year,” said Chikkarangappa.
“Last year I felt that I was stagnated and needed to lift my game. That’s when I got the opportunity to learn a lot of new things from my swing coach. That helped get my game back on track.
“I was quite confident of maintaining the advantage till the end after Muniyappa made those two bogeys today. But I made a bad decision by going for the driver on the 15th that cost me a double-bogey.
“Once in the playoff, my confidence returned thanks to my great playoff record. I’m just in a different zone during playoffs as I feel quite relaxed even though I approach it like a challenge. For me, a playoff also feels like an extension of my practice session.
“I’m very pleased for Muniyappa with whom I have played a lot of golf. His game is looking very good at the moment and he is not far from a victory.”
Chikka moved to the top of the order of merit, with his Noida winnings of Rs. 4,84,950 took his earnings for 2019 to 21,21,503. Rashid Khan, enjoying one of the most consistent seasons of his career, is in the second spot.
Shamim Khan held his own to secure third place. He made two-under 70 in the final round to push Shankar Das (72) into the fourth spot. Chiragh Kumar finished in fifth with a 70 on Friday.
Aadil Bedi showed great spirit, picking up four birdies over the final seven holes, including the 72nd, for a 69 in the final round. That helped the young golfer finish in T6 with Rashid Khan, Md. Dulal Hossain, Angad Cheema and Md. Zamal Hossain Mollah.
-16 S Chikkarangappa* C Muniyappa (Chikkarangappa won on the fourth hole of the playoff)
-12 Shamim Khan
-10 Shankar Das
-8 Chiragh Kumar
-7 Md. Dulal Hossain, Aadil Bedi, Rashid Khan, Angad Cheema, Md. Zamal Hossain Mollah