Bengaluru Open: Chikka sizzles with old putter

November 16, 2017

Bengaluru Open


BENGALURU: For long, putting was S Chikkarangappa’s strong point. Trying to experiment with new putters in the last year or so, it soon turned out to be his weakness. On the opening day of the inaugural Bengaluru Open Golf Championship on Wednesday, Chikka decided to return to his old and trusted putter.

The result was phenomenal. The 24-year-old, one of the favourites here, took a mere 25 putts en route to a sizzling sixunder 66 for a share of the lead. He was joined at the top by his playing partner Shamim Khan – the PGTI Order of Merit leader – and afternoon starters Himmat Rai, Sujjan Singh and Sri Lanka’s Anura Rohana.

Making the most of the near benign conditions at the KGA, most of the top pros of the country made hay in the Rs 1crore event. In all, 41golfers returned sub-par rounds and nine of them shot even-par 72. Local pro M Dharma, in-form Honey Baisoya, who has won four events in the last one year, and Veer Ahlawat were a shot off the pace in tied sixth place. Home hope Khalin Joshi had an up and down day and was three shots behind the leaders, while veteran Jyoti Randhawa could manage only an even-par 72.

Though he struggled with his tee shots, Chikka was solid with his approaches and also knew that he had his old putter to fall back on. Although he got off to a shaky start, missing a four-footer for par on the second hole, he holed a five-footer on the fifth and a 14-footer on the par-3 eight to take the turn at one-under.

The local pro went on a birdie blitz on the return journey, picking up shots on the 10th, 12th, 13th and 14th holes to throw down the gauntlet. He missed a 12 feet birdie putt on the 15th by a whisker. On the 16th hole, he pulled his tee shot to the left woods, but found the green through the trees with a brilliant fade with a pitching wedge and sank a 14-footer to pick up another shot.

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