Bengaluru: A year ago none of the amateurs made it to the weekend rounds. This year at the resplendent KGA Golf course in Bengaluru, five of the six amateurs who teed up made the cut. Towering amidst them is local lad Seenappa Chikkrangappa, whose four-under 67 brought him to tied 10th an improvement of 10 places from his overnight 20th.
“I have played the Indian Open three times before but never made the cut,” said Chikka, seated next to Anirban Lahiri, with whom he shares a great rapport. Both of them are at six-under 207. “Both of us know this course well,” he added. Lahiri incidentally had the day’s best round of five-under 66.
“I was getting a bit desperate not making the cut at the Indian Open,” he added. Then he smiled and said, “Maybe the Indian Open ought to have come to KGA a little earlier. Now I want to add to that by finishing well on the final day.”
Only one amateur has won the Indian Open and that was way back in 1965, when PG Billoo Sethi emerged champion.
He admitted that playing at the KGA is always a pleasure and an advantage. “This is where I play whenever I am here at home and I know it so well, and I have always done well here,” said Chikka, who won the All India Amateurs at the KGA in January 2011.
On what he plans next, he said, “I will probably turn pro soon. I will look at the Q-School and what stage I get into for Asian Tour. Or I will play on Indian Tour for a year and then make a move up. I will see how things pan out in the next few months.”
Joshi, who shot a brilliant 62 at this club last month in a domestic event, too, has plans to turn pro and like Chikka, he too has not finalized the exact route.
The 2002 Asian Games gold medalist, Shiv Kapur, who was once the top amateur in Indian Open, said, “I was stunned to see so many amateurs make the cut. It is really great. Making the cut at the Indian Open is a big deal and especially for amateurs.”
Gaganjeet Bhullar, who alongwith Anirban Lahiri and Chiragh Kumar, formed the Indian amateur squad which won the silver medal at 2006 Asian Games, also had words of praise for the amateurs. “These guys are playing great golf. Khalin recently shot a 62 here and that is amazing. The future is looking great,” said Bhullar, who himself is only 24 years old, but has been playing pro golf since he was 18.
On Sunday, Chikka will go out with Bhullar and Scott Hend, while Khalin Joshi plays his final round with Jesper Kennegard and Hung Chien-yao.
While five of the six amateurs who teed up made the cut, as many 35 Indian professionals missed it.
Amateurs in the field
10th S Chikkrangappa 72-68-67 207 (-6)
27th Khalin Joshi 72-71-69 212 (-1)
57th Angad Cheema 72-71-72 215 (+1)
63rd Honey Baisoya 69-75-72 216 (+3)
73rd Udayan Mane 73-69-75 217 (+4)
By Indian Sports News Network