Chikkarangappa shoots final round 65 to win by two shots

Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa S saved his best for the last as he shot a final round of seven-under 65, the day’s joint best score, to emerge victorious by two shots at the PGTI Players Championship at the Panchkula Golf Club (PGC).

The 27-year-old Chikkarangappa (69-65-69-65), who began the day in third place, three shots off the lead, put up a determined performance on the last day to end up with a tournament total of 20-under 268, two shots ahead of the rest at the Rs. 50 lakh event. The former PGTI Order of Merit champion had nine birdies and a double-bogey to show on his card as he wrapped up his 15th career title and 14th win on the PGTI.

Gurugram’s Veer Ahlawat (67-62-71-70), the leader for the last two days, was unable to hold on to his overnight two-shot lead as he fired a 70 to finish runner-up at 18-under 270 on a day that witnessed a constant light drizzle.

Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (72-67-66-67), the 24-year-old from Chandigarh, struck a 67 on Saturday to take third place at 16-under 272.

Chikkarangappa made an early charge in round four when he drained long birdie putts on the first and third and then produced a great approach on the fifth and accurate chips on the sixth and seventh to collect five birdies on the first seven holes and draw level with the leader Ahlawat.

Chikka, who represented India at the World Cup of Golf in 2016, then suffered a setback with a double-bogey on the eighth where he found the trees twice. But the two-time winner on the Asian Development Tour came roaring back with two tremendous drives on the 11th and 12th that resulted in birdies and helped him restore parity with Veer.

Chikka’s then excelled with his chipping and putting on the last six holes extracting birdies on the 15th and 16th that propelled him into the sole lead. He finally saw it home and picked up a cheque of Rs. 8,08,250 to consolidate himself in the second position in the PGTI Order of Merit.

Chikka’s final round 65 was the day’s joint best score as Panchkula’s Angad Cheema and Chandigarh’s Ravi Kumar too shot the same number. Cheema took tied 12th at 10-under 278 while Ravi ended tied 21st at five-under 283.

Veer Ahlawat, playing his first event in six months, made 17 greens in regulation in the final round but his putts didn’t find the hole just like round three. Veer made three birdies and a bogey during his 70 on Saturday. Ahlawat earned a cheque worth Rs. 5,58,250 to move up from eighth to fifth position on the PGTI’s money list.

Yuvraj Singh Sandhu’s eagle on the sixth was accompanied by five birdies and two bogeys as he sealed third place, four shots behind the winner.