Bengaluru: Determination and grit. Take Chennai showed it in abundance to emerge champions of the fifth edition of the Louis Philippe Cup on a cloudy Friday afternoon.
Determined to overcome previous edition’s heartbreak, Chennai stole the victory from three-day leaders Dev Chandigarh, to lick their wounds in satisfaction. It was deja vu. The same script was played out last year, but then Chennai had ended on the losing side after leading for three days, while Navratna Ahmedabad had stormed the course to deny Chennai the victory.
But this time, led by a superb show by S. Chikkarangappa along with S.S.P. Chawrasia, Chennai, who carded nine-under 135, finished with a total of 21-under-555 to win by three strokes, while Chandigarh had to settle for second place with a total of 18-under-558.
NSports Hyderabad, who had put themselves in contention in the previous rounds, finished off their debut season at an impressive third place with a total of 17-under-559.
After being shuffled around at the top half of the table over the past few days, localite Chikka took matters into his own hands as he guided the team to victory, carding the day’s best score of 5-under-67.
The spectators who had seen an agitated Chikka on the course for the first three rounds, was treated to a jovial and triumphant golfer, who exulted after finishing his round, throwing his ball into the crowd and pumping his fists into the air, with a look of gratitude and relief in his eyes as he looked towards the skies.
Chikka also pocketed the prize money for the best individual score. Determined to capitalise on his home advantage, Chikka, who did not start on the right note, changed the game on its head on the 16th hole. The local favourite failed to overcome the third hole jinx, as he bogeyed it for the third consecutive time. But that did not hamper his bid for the trophy as he followed it up with two back-to-back birdies on the 6th and 7th.
The back nine saw the 22-year-old tear the course up, saving four strokes, on the 11th , 12th, 16th and 18th hole. Meanwhile, SSP, who had had a miserable outing for most part of the tournament, showed his class as he turned in a four-under-68. The seasoned pro stepped up his game when it mattered the most. Starting off with a birdie, SSP managed only one more on the eighth hole, while he missed two strokes on the sixth and ninth. But keeping a track of the leaderboard, and knowing that the win was within their grasp, Chawrasia made no mistake as he saved three strokes on the back nine to help secure the win.
“The turning point was the 16th hole. Last year, we had lost thanks to the same putt on the 16th hole, but today I nailed it. SSP also played very well. Six shots between me and SSP changed everything. Khalin and I had to make our local advantage count and we did that today,” said a delighted Chikka.
Final Scores (after 72-holes): 1. Take Chennai 21-under-555; 2. Dev Chandigarh 18-under-558; 3. NSports Hyderabad 17-under-559; 4. Laqshya Mumbai 16-under-560; 5. Zion Hills Bengaluru 11-under-565; 6. Navratna Ahmedabad 10-under-566; T7. Jaypee Greens Greater Noida 5-under-571; T7. DLF-The Crest Gurgaon 5-under-571...