Chikkarangappa cruises to five-shot win at Kensville

Chikkarangappa 26Ahmedabad: Bangalore’s Chikkarangappa S cruised to a five-shot win after posting a three-under-69 in the final round of the PGTI Players Championship presented by Kensville Golf & Country Club. Chikkarangappa, who totaled 12-under-276 for the week at the Rs. 30 lakh event, climbed from fifth to second position in the Rolex Rankings as a result of his win. Lucknow’s Sanjay Kumar was placed second at seven-under-281 as he carded a one-under-71 in round four.

Chikkarangappa (69-64-74-69), who enjoyed a three-shot lead heading into round four, had a slow start with a bogey on the third where he hit a poor second shot. However, the 21-year-old soon regained his touch by picking up a birdie from 12 feet on the next hole. But the highlight of Chikka’s final round was the birdie conversion from 100-feet on the eighth.

Chikka, who set the course record with his 64 on day two, then had a flurry of birdies on the 12th, 14th and 15th that took him to the cusp of his sixth professional title. He knocked-in putts from a range of eight to 12 feet on this stretch. Chikka signed off with a bogey on the 18th which didn’t have any impact on the final standings as the gap between himself and second-placed Sanjay Kumar was too big.

“It’s great to win a title at the venue where I began my professional career. The conditions were a lot calmer today as compared to round three and I drove home the advantage with some good putting. I had a fantastic week barring day three when I was taken off guard by the blustery conditions. I did well to hang in there despite the tough conditions in the third round,” said Chikka, who took home the winner’s purse of Rs. 4,50,000.

He added, “I had the wind favouring me today on the back-nine and that helped my cause. A solid final round at last week’s event set up this week for me. These last two weeks have been a good preparation ground for me for this year’s Asian Tour season. I now look forward to following my friend Anirban Lahiri at The Masters on television over the next three days. He’s had a wonderful start to the event and I hope he can keep it going in the remaining rounds.”

Chikka climbed from fifth to second in the Rolex Rankings after his win at Kensville. He now has earnings of Rs. 12,72,440 for the year. Mukesh Kumar of Mhow continues to lead the rankings with earnings of Rs. 15,08,640.

Sanjay Kumar (71-68-71-71), who finished a distant second, made four birdies and three bogeys on the final round. Sanjay’s missed a hole-in-one by a whisker on the 16th as his tee shot lipped out. He drained a 25-footer for birdie on the fifth. Sanjay, who didn’t find a single bunker during the week, claimed his best result of the season at Kensville.

Seventeen-year-old rookie Feroze Singh Garewal of Chandigarh, playing only his third professional event, secured a creditable tied third finish at five-under-283 after his final round of 72. Kolkata’s Feroz Ali Mollah returned a 69 on Friday to take a share of third place along with Garewal.

Noida’s Rahul Bajaj occupied fifth place at three-under-285. Kolkata’s Rahil Gangjee, Bangalore’s Khalin Joshi and Sri Lankan Anura Rohana were a further shot back in tied sixth. Khalin and Anura’s 68 was the joint best score of the final round. Delhi’s Manu Gandas, who finished 13th at one-over-289, too shot a 68 in round four.

Rolex Rankings leader Mukesh Kumar was tied 20th at five-over-293. Delhi’s Rashid Khan finished joint 43rd at 14-over-302. Himmat Singh Rai of the DLF Golf & Country Club, Gurgaon, ended tied 48th at 19-over-307.