Chikkarangappa builds two-stroke lead with 68 at Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational presented by TAKE Solutions

Sat 03 Nov 2018

Chikkarangappa builds two-stroke lead with 68 at Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational presented by TAKE Solutions


November 3: Bengaluru-born Chikkarangappa S. carded a four-under-par 68 to extend his lead at the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational 2018 presented by TAKE Solutions on Saturday.

At the end of a wet and overcast third day, the odds were slightly in favour of Chikkarangappa who produced the day’s best score for the second day in succession, to build a two-stroke lead on 12-under-204 total.

Former Asian Tour number one Jyoti Randhawa, who is also a nine-time international winner and the most experienced player among the top contenders, lurks in third place on 208 following a 71 at Chandigarh Golf Club.

The second round saw three stoppages in play due to lightning which resulted in an overall delay of two hours.

The 25-year-old Chikkarangappa, who was the overnight joint leader, began the day with a bogey on the first and fought back well thereafter just like the previous round. Chikka, a winner of 10 titles including two on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), sank birdies on the fourth and fifth but dropped another shot after finding the hazard on the seventh to go back to even-par for the day.

The Indian was on song on the back-nine as he knocked down four birdies in succession for an inward 32.

“I felt my experience of regularly playing in wet conditions on the Asian Tour paid off. I know how to keep myself calm in such stop and start situations. I have a certain routine for such conditions which I stuck to today.

“I had played 11 holes when the last weather stoppage was announced. When play resumed I felt energized and put together four birdies in a row. That came just at the right time for me. I also had a lucky break when I was in the trees on the 13th. Fortunately, I had a swing there and a little gap through which I could get to the green,” said Chikkarangappa, who is looking to end a two-year title drought this week.

“Unlike the last two rounds, I converted all putts within the five-feet range today. I was also comfortable with my swing. A two-shot lead is not much of an advantage. Two bad swings can nullify that lead. So, I have to keep striking it well and make those short putts,” added Chikkarangappa.

Randhawa held on to his overnight third place after trading three birdies against two bogeys. The 46-year-old seasoned campaigner will be looking to end a six-year winless streak on Sunday. His last win came at a Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) event in March 2012.

Ahmedabad-based Udayan Mane (70) and Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman (71), a two-time Asian Tour winner, are tied in fourth place on 209.

Indian star Shiv Kapur (71) is a further shot back in tied seventh while Khalin Joshi (73) who claimed his maiden victory last week is tied 14th on 213.

Singh is the first player in the history of Indian golf to play host this week. He is only one of the few Asian Tour greats have assumed responsibility of tournament host, including Korea’s KJ Choi with the CJ Invitational, Thailand’s Boonchu Ruangkit with the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship and countrymen Thongchai Jaidee with the Thongchai Jaidee Foundation.

Reigning Asian Tour number one Gavin Green of Malaysia, also received the honor of hosting the Gavin Green Junior Amateur 2018, that gets underway in December.