Reigning Rolex Ranking champion Chikkarangappa S survived a late surge from fellow Bengalorean Rahil Gangjee before prevailing in a close contest at the inaugural TAKE Open Golf Championship at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) course.
Chikkarangappa ended the Rs. 1 crore PGTI event with a persistent final round of one-under-71 that took his tournament tally to 13-under-275.
Gangjee, tied for the lead till 16th hole, finished 2nd at 12-under-276, courtesy his final round of four-under-68.
Chikkarangappa (69-67-68-71), the overnight leader by three, came up with another unwavering effort at the KGA course to seal his 10th professional title, which also accounted for his second win of the current PGTI season.
The 23-year-old Asian Tour regular bagged a cheque of Rs. 15 lakh for his victory and as a result has now zoomed into first position in the Rolex Ranking, taking a leap of 15 places. His season’s earnings stand at Rs. 24,06,640.
Chikkarangappa looked set to drive home the advantage when he was two-under for the day through 11 holes. He had holed a 40-footer on the seventh and played a magnificent bunker shot on the 11th for birdies on both holes.
However, it was around this time that Rahil Gangjee (68-70-70-68), who was tied fourth and four off the lead after round three, started making a move.
Gangjee charged into contention as he caught up with Chikkarangappa after birdies on the 11th, 14th and 15th holes. The former Asian Tour winner missed an eagle by a whisker on the 11th and made a long conversion on 14th.
Chikkarangappa, who had dropped a bogey on the 14th, survived some anxious moments on the last stretch as he recovered from a tough spot on the 17th salvaging a par with a tremendous chip.
A poor chip by Gangjee, who was playing one group ahead of Chikkarangappa, on the 17th, led to a bogey for him and handed the sole lead back to the fellow Bangalorean.
Finally, it was a four-foot par conversion on the 18th that saw Chikkarangappa come through as the champion.
Chikkarangappa, who recently sealed his Asian Tour card, said, “This win has brought me back into contention for the Rolex Player of the Year title. I’d love to defend my Rolex Ranking title this year.”
Indian star Jyoti Randhawa shot the day’s joint best of 67 to grab a share of third spot along with Sri Lanka’s Anura Rohana (69) and Panchkula’s Shubhankar Sharma (71) at 10-under-278. Shubhankar has now moved into second position in the Rolex Ranking with seasons’s earnings of Rs. 21,42,513.
Bengaluru’s Jaibir Singh took the prize for the best performance by an amateur as he claimed tied sixth place at eight-under-280 along with Delhi’s Chiragh Kumar. Sanjay Kumar of Lucknow had a hole-in-one on the eighth during his final round of 72. He finished tied 10th at six-under-282.
Fifteen-year-old amateur Aadil Bedi of Chandigarh, making his first appearance in a professional event, shot a final round of 73 to finish tied 51st at 10-over-298.