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Chikkarangappa pulls off come-from-behind win

Sports Reporter

Bangalore: Pre-tournament favourite S. Chikkarangappa demonstrated that any dip in form was only temporary, as he recovered from two pedestrian rounds of golf to win the Toyota Corolla Altis Southern India Open amateur golf championship by five strokes e on Friday.

The only player to break par on the day, the 17-year-old returned a calm two-under 70 to finish with one-over 289 for the event and claim his second amateur trophy in eight days, on the back of the victory at the inter-State amateur golf championship at Coimbatore.

Overnight leader Khalin Joshi seemingly buckled under the weight of expectation, shooting a woeful five-over 77 — his highest single round score of the week — as hopes of a title here went up in smoke.

Abhijit Chadha and Kanishk Madan exchanged positions from Thursday, with the former carding one-over 73 for the third straight round to finish third on the board, one stroke behind Joshi.

Rahul Bajaj wound up fifth with an aggregate of 299, one ahead of Trishul Chinnappa — who paid the price for a poor opening two days — and Angad Cheema.

“I never thought in my life that I'd win by five shots,” Chikkarangappa said afterwards. “But somewhere the confidence of winning was always there. The point at which I realized that the title was in my hands was the eighth hole. I holed a 30-footer outside the green and made a birdie from there; that was the best birdie of my career.”

Joshi, ahead by two strokes at the start of day four, staged a remarkable opening, drilling birdies on the opening two holes.

In the event, those were to be his only birdies of the round as he dropped five shots on a torrid front nine thereafter: bogeys on four, seven and nine, and a double bogey on five.

The results (top eight):

S. Chikkarangappa 289 (70, 75, 74, 70); Khalin Joshi 294 (75, 72, 70, 77); Abhijit Chadha 295 (76, 73, 73, 73); Kanishk Madan 297 (74, 75, 72, 76); Rahul Bajaj 299 (75, 76, 75, 73); Trishul Chinnappa 300 (79, 79, 68, 74); Angad Cheema 300 (75, 74, 75, 76); R. Marimuthu 302 (75, 76, 72, 79).

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