When 19-year-old Chandigarh golfer Karandeep Kochhar finished third in the Bengal Open at Tollygunge Club in Kolkata last week, it was Kochhar’s second top-five finish this year. Kochhar, who has won the PGTI Players Championship at the same club in 2016 as an amateur, had an overall score of 16-under-264 at the historic Tollygunge Club to finish third and the Chandigarh youngster rates it as a motivating performance at the start of the season.
“I have fond memories of the Tollygunge Club. I won the PGTI Players Championship here in 2016 while playing as an amateur. Last week was a good week for me and I played well. The key moment for me was the first day of the championship when my score was seven-under after the first ten holes. It helped me build the momentum. I missed some putts on the last day but I am happy with the result. It was a close finish and any one among us — me, Md Zamal and Honey Baisoya — could have won the title. In the end, Zamal held his nerves and won the title by just one shot. The course was playing good; the fairways were thick and the greens were quick. Playing on such courses always helps your game and build confidence. The third-place finish will help me build the momentum for the season ahead,” Kochhar said.
The youngster, who had turned professional in 2017, started this year by finishing fourth in the Golconda Masters played at Hyderabad. The youngster had two top-ten finishes on the PGTI circuit last year with his second-place finish at the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational Championship being the best finish.
Kochhar also played in five tournaments on the Asian Tour with his tied-14th place finish in the Yeangder TPC Championship being his best finish of the year. Kochhar also finished tied-15th in the Panasonic Open apart from finishing tied-16th in Take Solutions Masters in Bengaluru. Kochhar will now play in the Indian Open to be played from March 28 at DLF Golf Course in Gurugram. Last year, Kochhar had finished tied-48th in the event.
“Finishing runners-up at Chandigarh where I lost to Chikkangappa in the play-off was the high point for me last year. Even though I lost the chance to win the title on my home course, playing in such situations always helps one’s game. Playing on the Asian Tour has also helped my game and the tied-14th finish at Yeangder TPC was also special. I will be playing in the Indian Open later this month and it will be a challenge to play at the DLF course. It is a Gary Player designed course and one has to play well in all aspects to post better scores at the course. After the Indian Open, I might play in the Bangladesh Open as I am on the waiting list for the event. I will be playing five-six tournaments on Asian Tour this year and a top-ten finish on the Asian Tour always acts as a boost and provide crucial world ranking points too. Since PGTI tournaments too started giving world ranking points for this year onwards, a top-three finish on the PGTI tour helps,” Kochhar added.
The youngster trains under coach Jesse Grewal and had become one of the youngest winners on the PGTI circuit when he won the PGTI Players Championship in Kolkata in 2016. The last few months have seen him spending time under Grewal and improving his basics.
“With the PGTI tournaments offering world ranking points, I have to balance the domestic tournaments and Q-schools for international tours and chances on the Asian Tour. I worked on my putting during the last few months under Jesse sir. I missed securing an Asian Tour card during the Q-School qualifiers last year but I will try again this year,” Kochhar said.