TAKE Open: Chikka level with Sujjan at the top

Local lad Chikkarangappa - three shots off the pace after the first round - was not at his best, but fought his way into contention at the TAKE Open golf championship.

S. Chikkarangappa, joint-leader after the second round of the TAKE Solutions golf championship.   -  Special arrangement

Sujjan Singh, joint-leader after the second round of the TAKE Solutions golf championship.   -  Special arrangement

A five-under 67 second round took S. Chikkarangappa to the top of the pile in the TAKE Open golf championship, at the KGA course here on Thursday. Chikkarangappa (eight-under 136 overall) shares the lead with Sujjan Singh, who shot a two-under-70.

Shubhankar Sharma, second on the PGTI Order of Merit list, lies one stroke behind the toppers. Amateur Jaibir Singh, Rahil Gangjee, Sri Lankan Anura Rohana and Abhijit Singh Chadha (all six-under overall) are in tied-fourth.

Local lad Chikkarangappa - three shots off the pace after the first round - was not at his best, but fought his way into contention. He went two-under in the first six holes, and made par in the next six. The Bengaluru lad got going in the 14th, sinking a 20-feet putt to make birdie. Two more birdies followed, which helped him finish on a high.

“It’s not easy to read the greens, so I was struggling to make putts in the first half. Sometimes you need a little luck,” Chikkarangappa said.

Sujjan, the overnight leader, had a quiet day. He was at three-under in his first 13 holes, before a bogey on the par-5 14th dented his score. Chadha, who started the day in pole position, went off the boil with an even-par return.

At the end of this year, golfer S. Chikkarangappa will finally get some well earned rest. His spot on the 2017 Asian Tour has been sealed, which means that he has no reason to compete in the qualifying events of the Asian Q-School.

“Every December, I finish my season and then think, ‘Oh no, I have to go to Q-school in January’. This time, my year starts only in February. I can relax with family and friends,” Chikkarangappa, who is competing in the TAKE Open golf championship here, said. This luxury has been afforded after the Bengaluru pro recorded top-10 finishes in his last three Asian Tour events.

Golfers on the tour are ranked, and given Asian Tour cards, on their prize money earnings. This was a tough hurdle for Chikkarangappa to cross, as he does not get to compete in many big ticket events. “Guys like me who come from Q-School are given entry to only about eight smaller events in a year. Even if you finish in the top-10 in these events, you may only make very small improvements on the ranking list."

"Also, guys from Q-School get to play for $8 million (sum total of prize money in all events played) a year, while a golfer with a full card gets to play for $32 to 36 million. So you need to get exceptional results in smaller tournaments to stay in contention,” he said.



The scores (top-eight): 136: S. Chikkarangappa (69, 67), Sujjan Singh (66, 70); 137: Shubhankar Sharma (68, 69); 138: Abhijit Singh Chadha (66, 72), Anura Rohana (72, 66), Rahil Gangjee (68, 70), Jaibir Singh (A) 69, 69; 139: Samarth Dwivedi (70, 69) Jyoti Randhawa (69, 70), Gaurav Pratap (67, 72), Amardip Sinh Malik (68, 71), Chiragh Kumar (70, 69), Feroz Ali (69, 70).

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