Golf: Chikkarangappa on the verge of victory
"Chikka" means small in Kannada, the mother tongue of the 20-year-old Chikkarangappa S and the word gels with his build.
However, in a short professional career, spanning just over a year and a half, Chikka has had big achievements on the Indian Professional Circuit after finishing second on the PGTI Order of Merit in 2013.
Today, Chikkarangappa is on the verge of his first victory of the season after firing a five-under 67 to take a three-stroke lead at the end of the third round of the Surya Nepal Masters 2014.
Chikka was sitting pretty at 15-under 201 for the tournament.
This edition of the Surya Nepal Masters has brought the youth brigade to the fore with four amongst the top seven on the leaderboard. On a day of fluctuating fortunes, Abhinav Lohan brought in the best card of the day as overnight leader Shamim Khan and opening round leader Angad Cheema shot an identical 1-over par 73 to slip to the tied-fifth and seventh positions respectively at 10-under 206. Feroz Ali Mollah showed some vintage form to shoot seven birdies and an eagle in his 66 and be tied with Shankar Das for the third position at 11-under 205. Abhijit Singh Chadha was tied with Shamim while Shivaram Shrestha emerged as the best Nepali professional after submitting a card of 3-under 69 to be in the eighth position with a 54-hole tally of 8-under par 208.
Sanjay Lama was the next best at 6-under 210 and was tied for the 11th position. Umesh Nagarkoti shot a four-under 68 to catapult into the top-15 and be tied with four others. Amongst the amateurs, Bikash Bogati slipped to the tied-46th position after a 6-over round while Sanjeev CK was in the 51st position. Both the amateurs had made the professional cut, a rarity on any Tour but more importantly showcases the standard of improvement in the growth of the game in this Himalayan country, thanks to the largesse of Surya Nepal Pvt. Ltd.
Chikka began on an average note with a bogey on the par-5 third and making a birdie on the very next hole. A bogey was sandwiched between two birdies on the last three holes of his front nine. However on the return journey, Chikka did not make any mistake as he saved a stroke each on the 12th, 14th, 15th before signing off in style with another birdie.
"It was great playing with Angad and Shamim too who has been playing well over the last few years. Angad was playing really well but got unlucky on Hole 15 where he got stuck in the jungle and scored a 9. I need to work on my patience and plan to stay calm and relaxed and stick to my routine," said the leader.
Meanwhile, Shivaram, who was in an attacking mode right from the word 'go' which did pay dividends but not enough to save any strokes. Making back to back birdies on the third and fourth holes, the stocky Nepali No.1 golfer made a bogey on the sixth and immediately erased it with a birdie on the seventh. After a bogey on the par-5 11th, Shivaram, then onwards played a steady game while making birdies on the 12th and the finishing hole. If he really has to defend his title, Shivaram needs to shoot a very low number on the morrow.
Top scores (after 54 holes) (all Indians unless mentioned)
201 Chikkarangappa S (69, 65, 67); 204 Abhinav Lohan (69, 69, 66); 205 Feroz Ali Mollah (70, 69, 66), Shankar Das (67, 70, 68); 206 Abhijit Singh Chadha (71, 67, 68), Shamim Khan (66, 67, 73); 207 Angad Cheema (64, 70, 73); 208 Shivaram Shrestha (Nep) (67, 72, 69); 209 Sanjay Kumar (72, 69, 68), R Murthy (69, 67, 73); 210 Gaurav Ghei (67, 71, 72), Sanjay Lama (Nep) (68, 70, 72); 211 Honey Baisoya (71, 73, 67), 211 Mohammad Sanju (71, 66, 74); 212 Umesh Nagarkoti (70, 74, 68), Gulfam (70, 72, 70), Md Zamal Hossain Mollah (B'desh) (72, 68, 72), Karan Taunk (67, 72, 73)
(Posted on 25-04-2014)