Chikka meets Pritam in all-India golf final

Saturday, February 5, 2011

BANGALORE - It will be an all-Bangalore final at the 110th All India Amateur golf championships, as S Chikkarangappa and Pritam Haridas entered the finals of the flagship event of the Indian Golf Union.

Defending champion Chikka, who turns 18 later this year, rallied from 2-down to beat the last foreign challenger, N Thangaraja of Sri Lanka 1-up on the 18th.

If Chikka wins, he could become the first junior to win back-to-back All India Amateur title. He also won the All India junior amateur in December, but at the Eagleton.

Pritam, 20, who took the lead for the first time in the semi-final only on the seventh, ended the match against regular playing partner, Udayan Mane, on the 16th winning 3 and 2.

The Chikka-Pritam clash will hold a lot of local attention as they are both trained by two of the best known local coaches. Chikka is coached by Vijay Divecha at Touche Golf Academy while Pritam trains with former Indian pro Rahul Ganapathy at the KGA.

I am not getting ahead. I just want to concentrate on playing well. Today, I was two-down after 10. But I stayed focused and knew if could kept the ball on the fairways and putted well I would come back. I had some fine putts towards the end, especially on 16th and 17th, both for pars. I won the 17th, halved the 18th to win, said Chikka.

Chikka began erratically, as he chipped over the green on third to go one-down, and then three-putted the fourth to lose that hole also and go two-down. He reduced the margin on the eighth, but on the ninth he went into the water to go two-down once more. But he rallied well on the back nine, winning 12th and 14th to make the match even. He won the 17th to go one-up and held the lead on the final hole.

Pritam three-putted the fourth to lose the hole. But with Mane double bogeying the sixth, where he went into the water and then overshot the green on par-4 seventh, he was one-down. Pritam tightened the grip on the match and never let go except on the tenth, where he three-putted to lose the hole, but still led by one. He won the 11th with a birdie but Mane fought back with a birdie on 14th. Still one-up, Pritam won the 15th with a good birdie and then putted well for par on 16th and as Mane bogeyed the hole, the match was over.

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