Chikka hopes for a breakthrough in Vietnam

Having won twice on the Asian Development Tour, Chikkrangappa is keen on adding an Asian Tour title to his resume. He is not putting himself under pressure as he is lying 66th on the Order of Merit and needs to get into Top-60 by the end of this last leg of three events, including this week in Vietnam.

Chikkarangappa... aiming for his first Asian Tour title.   -  V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Eyeing his maiden Asian Tour title, rising golfer S. Chikkrangappa will be part of a dozen-strong Indian challenge at the $1.5 million Ho Tram Open at the Bluffs Ho Tram strip here.

Having won twice on Asian Development Tour, once each in 2014 and 2015 in his hometown, Bangalore, Chikkrangappa is keen on adding an Asian Tour title to his resume. He is not putting himself under pressure as he is lying 66th on the Order of Merit and needs to get into Top-60 by the end of this last leg of three events, including this week in Vietnam.

For that, he is calming himself and speaking to his coach, Vijay Divecha and friend and mentor, Anirban Lahiri.

“I’m not going to think about my Order of Merit position. I know I’m at my peak now. If I can go out and play like how I’ve been playing then I think saving my card is not a problem. I talked to my coach and to Anirban Lahiri and they’ve told me not to worry about it,” Chikka said.

“This is my first time here and this golf course is beautiful. I’m so impressed with the way the golf course is set-up. You have many interesting par threes and par fives and with the course facing the ocean, it makes this course very picturesque. It is amazing here.”

Other Indians in the field include Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal, Jyoti Randhawa, Chiragh Kumar, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Shiv Kapur, Rashid Khan, Rahil Gangjee, Khalin Joshi, Himmat Rai and Subhankar Sharma. Also in the starters is Daniel Chopra, two-time winner of PGA events in the US.

Meanwhile, Asia’s lone major champion Y. E. Yang hopes to rediscover his winning touch at the event, which starts on Thursday. As with most players in the elite 132-man field, the Korean star, an Asian Tour honorary member, was captivated by the picturesque and award-winning course, which is a Greg Norman design.

Yang will be joined by fellow major champions, Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, also the Ryder Cup and EurAsia Cup captain for Europe, and Geoff Ogilvy of Australia, winner of the 2006 U.S. Open.

Spanish star Sergio Garcia, 2014 Asian Tour No. 1, David Lipsky of the United States and big-hitting Australian Scott Hend, who is ranked second on the 2015 Order of Merit, will also feature in Vietnam’s richest sporting event which includes six former Asian Tour number ones and 15 of the top-20 players from the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Yang, who capped a famous win at the 2009 PGA Championship where he defeated then World No. 1 Tiger Woods in a head-to-head duel, hopes to overcome the blustery conditions in his bid to end a five-year title drought.