While Chandigarh golfer Karandeep Kochhar was in the lead after the second and third round in the PGTI Players Championship presented by Chandigarh Golf Club, Kochhar’s maiden professional title saw the 21-year-old carding his eighth sub-par round in as many rounds in last two weeks. With a combined score of 37-under over a total of eight rounds played at Panchkula Golf Club and Chandigarh Golf Club, it has been a show of some flawless rounds by the Chandigarh youngster at Chandigarh Golf Club and Panchkula Golf Club.
“While low scores like these do help, keeping yourself composed and not missing on the crucial moments has been the mantra for me for these two weeks. While the Panchkula Golf Course is a short course, Chandigarh Golf Club has its own challenges in the form of trees and long fairways. Adjusting to play at both the courses was the key for me in the last two weeks and my focus has been to concentrate on my game rather than think about others,” shared Kochhar.
On Thursday, Kochhar made a brilliant start with a birdie each on the first two holes. He would end the front-nine two-under with Chowrasia sinking five birdies in his front-nine earlier with Kochhar leading Chowrasia by seven shots and Akshay Sharma trailing by four shots. The back-nine started with a bogey for Kochhar and the youngster would make par on the next five holes as Chowrasia ended his round with a course record of 10-under and Kochhar needing a birdie at least on the last three holes to win the title. The Chandigarh youngster sank a birdie each on the 589- yard long 16th and 371- yard long 17th hole before making a par on the last hole to claim the title.
“I guess the shot which gave me momentum in today’s round was the par-save on the 417-yard long 12th hole. The two-putt conversion to cover a distance of 50-60 feet was crucial at that time and if I had lost a shot, it would have hampered my rhythm. Yes, I was bit under pressure on the last three holes but hitting the ball good and maintaining my composure for crucial putts helped me,” added Kochhar.
The 21-year-old, who had four top-ten finishes at CGC on the PGTI Tour before Thursday, had won his first title on the PGTI Tour as an amateur at Kolkata in 2016. While last week Kochhar had finished second behind Akshay Sharma in the PGTI Players Championship presented by Panchkula Golf Club, the youngster accumulated three Official World Golf Ranking(OWGR) points on Thursday to climb from the 729th spot to 586th spot.
Thursday’s win saw Kochhar pocketing five OWGR points and the youngster can expect to make a climb to top-500 in the world when the next rankings are released on Monday.
The youngster is aiming to collect some valuable world ranking points over the course of next eight months in a bid for getting a spot in next year’s Tokyo Olympics “Gaining OWGR points on the PGTI Tour is important for all of us since the tour started offering OWGR last year. Next month’s Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational is one of the biggest PGTI tournaments and I will aim for winning the title this time. I still have the country exemption for Asian Tour and when the tour resumes next year, I could play in some tournaments. I am aiming for gaining world ranking points on PGTI and Asian Tour at least for getting a shot at next year’s Olympic berth,” said Kochhar.
Coach Jesse Grewal believes that Thursday’s win has broken a barrier for the youngster. “Karandeep had some close finishes but he always took positives from those finishes. During the lockdown, we worked on his swing apart from his fitness which also allowed his body to adjust to some technical changes. This win will act as a huge motivation for him,” said Grewal.
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