On a day when only 28 golfers managed to break par, it was clearly evident that the beautiful course at the Royal Springs was being coy, playing hard to get for all but a handful of men. Under the watchful gaze of the Zabarwan hills, Chikkarangappa S seemed to have cracked the course, making five straight birdies to finish his round. The rest of them though were made to sweat and toil around the rolling hills looking to get one up on an elusive course.
A look at the numbers is revealing – while the field as a whole managed to better the course only on a third of the holes, the top 30 had significantly greater success navigating the pins. On an average, the only holes that the leading bunch failed to break par at, were the first, fourth and the twelfth holes.
The average score for the field in round 1 was two-over, but the best 100 on the day navigated the 6,985 yard course in one-over, 72.97 on average. But a look at the top 30 is revealing. They needed just 69.40 to get through, nearly three under for the day.
The leaders used the par-5 opportunities so much better – especially the 10th and 14th holes where the leading men were nearly half a stroke better than the rest of the field. The par-3 fifth was clearly the toughest pin on the first day – only 7 men from a field of 124 golfers managed to birdie this hole.
Chikkarangappa, who started on the back nine was looking set for a regulation round of golf after making the turn at one-under, but caught fire on the way in. On a day when only one other golfer made a hat-trick of birdies, the Bangalore lad’s blistering finish set him apart from the pack.
Chikka reached the clubhouse with five straight birdies starting at the par-3 fifth hole as he raced through his inward nine in just 30 strokes.
Report by Anand Datla