Chikkarangappa edges out Rashid in playoff to win maiden title

Mumbai: Rookie Chikkarangappa S of Bangalore upstaged pre-tournament favourite Rashid Khan of Delhi in a playoff to bag his maiden professional title at the Crompton Greaves Open 2013 at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club here today.

It turned out to be a day of twists and turns. Rashid Khan (64-64-66-70) maintained his overnight three-shot lead till the eighth hole as both he and Chikka (64-65-68-67) made two birdies and a bogey each on the first eight holes.

The tide turned over the next five holes. Rashid dropped bogeys on the ninth, 10th and 13th as a result of a few missed putts and a poor tee shot, while Chikka sank a 17-feet birdie putt on the 12th. Chikka, thus went ahead by one shot on the 13th.

Chikka stayed ahead by one till the 17th after both he and Rashid made birdies on the 16th. Rashid, however, came back in the contest with a birdie on the 18th thanks to a near-perfect third shot from the fairway that landed within a foot of the flag.

Chikka, on the other hand, missed an up and down for birdie from the bunker wall on the 18th. The two golfers, who have grown up playing against each other on the junior and amateur circuits, headed for a playoff after ending the regulation 72 holes with matching totals of 16-under-264.

The 20-year-old Chikka, who hails from the Eagleton Golf Resort near Bangalore, sealed the deal on the first playoff hole against 22-year-old Rashid, who lost a playoff at the CG Open for the second year in succession.

Chikka found the rough and then the bunker during the playoff but recovered well with a 12-feet birdie putt conversion.

Rashid on his part missed the birdie after a poor bunker shot.

Chikka's winning cheque of Rs 16,16,500 propelled him from fifth place to second position on the Rolex Rankings.

Rashid continues to lead the Rolex Rankings with an impressive margin of about Rs 11 lakh.

"It feels great to win my first title in my first season as a professional. I've been in contention in at least six events this season but somehow could not deliver in the final stages. I drew a lot of experience from those tournaments and that helped me break the all-important victory barrier today," Chikka said.

"I performed really well with the 3-wood and the putter this week. I made a lot of fairways and dropped just five bogeys in the whole tournament. I stayed in touch with Rashid in the initial stages and capitalised with some long putts when he faltered midway through the round.

"The turning point was the crucial 13-feet downhill par putt that I converted on the 15th. That kept me ahead and gave me momentum. I was confident heading into the playoff despite missing an up and down from the bunker wall on the 18th.

"This win will give me a huge boost for the rest of the season. I dedicate my victory to the Late Mr M Ashok Kumar, the former Chairman and Managing Director of Eagleton – The Golf Resort, who passed away earlier this year. He was like a father figure to me and encouraged and supported me for many years," he added.

Bangladeshi Md Zamal Hossain Mollah (67-68-66-69) secured third place at 10-under-270 after shooting a 69 in the final round.

Delhi's Vinod Kumar was a further shot behind in fourth place, while K Prabagaran of Sri Lanka claimed fifth place at seven-under-273.

( Source : PTI )
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