Gritty Chikka triumphs

Chikk-arangappa withstood a stirring challenge from Saqib Ahmad to capture the 48th all-India Junior golf championship in sparkling manner here on Thursday.Put under marvelous pressure by Saqib who matched the champion stroke for stroke with some brilliant golf Chikkarangappa responded in amazing fashion to cap his junior career on a high by becoming the first Indian to hold both the junior and senior national amateur crowns. Playing at his home Eagleton Golf Resort which has become something of a fortress for the 17-year-old, Chikkarangappa blasted a final-round six-under 66 to sign off at 286, three strokes ahead of second-placed Saqib in Category A.

Rigel Fernandes, who has been training at the David Ledbetter in United States for the last four years, completed third in Category A but took the group B title after carding two-under 70 for a tournament total of 291.Bangalore’s Trishul Chinnappa and Gurbani Singh were adjudged the Player of the Year after accumulating 212 and 193 points for the full season respectively. There was more joy for Gurbani, who emerged champion in the girls’ Category A and B with a total of 224.Teeing off from the 10th hole, both Chikkarangappa and Saqib were at each other from the beginning.

Saqib set the tone with a birdie on the 11th before picking up strokes from the 13th to the 17th. Having faced such situations earlier, Chikkarangappa awash up the pressure brilliantly to birdie the 13th and 14th before firing an eagle on the 16th.Snapping at Chikkarangappa’s heels, Saqib finally surged a stroke ahead with an eagle on the first hole. But, sadly Saqib could sustain the momentum as he dropped strokes on the fifth and seventh while Chikkarangappa birdied the fourth, fifth and eighth to firmly secure the title, the bogey on the ninth notwithstanding.


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