Even though he missed a chance to win a Professional Golf Tour of Indian (PGTI) at his home course with his loss against Chikkarangappa in play-off in the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational presented by Take Solutions at Chandigarh Golf Club last week, 19-year-old Chandigarh golfer Karandeep Kochhar took a lot of positives from the tournament. Kochhar’s second-place finish meant that the Chandigarh golfer climbed to the fourth spot in the PGTI Order of Merit with earnings of more than Rs 28 lakh this season and the professional golfer rates the experience a learning experience.
“The way I played during all the four rounds gave me a lot of confidence and I am happy with the kind of comeback I managed to do. Forcing my way to the play-off after a tough birdie conversion on the 18th hole gave me a lot of confidence. Yes, I missed my chance in play-offs but I will take positives from my second-place finish at my home golf course. I was bit disappointed but staging a comeback after three bogeys on the back-nine in the final round means a lot to me,” shared the 19-year-old youngster.
Kochhar’s second-place in the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational was his third top-five finish as a professional player with last year’s tied-second place in Panasonic Open India being the first time he returned with a top-three finish. At Chandigarh Golf Course, Kochhar carded a round of six-under-66 on the opening day with Shiv Kapur equalling the course record with a score of seven-under-65.
The next three days saw Kochhar sinking a total of 15 birdies to finish at the second spot. Kochhar, whose only win on the PGTI circuit came as an amateur golfer in the PGTI Players Championship in Kolkata in 2016, will be playing in three PGTI tournaments in the remaining season. “Having played at the course since my junior days, I know the conditions well at the Chandigarh Golf Course.
But every time one plays, the course poses a different challenge. My putting went well during the last week and the key was to adjust to the two-paced greens. Playing in the third round in rainy conditions was also a challenge and things like these helps a youngster like me. I will be playing in Bengaluru Open, CG Open and Tata Open on the PGTI circuit and I will aim for a top-five finishes to improve my PGTI Order of Merit ranking,” shared Kochhar.
The Chandigarh golfer will also play in the Asian Tour Q-School later this year to be played in two stages in Thailand. With more than 250 golfers vying for 35 sports on offer, it will be a tough challenge for Kochhar.
“I competed in Yeangder TPC before the Panasonic Open India and the tied-14th place in Yeangder boosted my confidence. Finishing tied-15th in Panasonic Open India this year also was a special feeling. It will be a tough challenge in Asian Tour Q-School but I am ready for the challenge. Whatever chance I have got to play on Asian Tour, I have seen it as a learning experience and it will help me in Asian Tour Q-School,” shared Kochhar, who is a studying law from Universal Law College, Mohali.