HYDERABAD: The heavy Golconda Masters trophy is resting on S Chikkarangappa’s right shoulder. He wants to reenact a famous scene from film Bahubali.The 25-year-old from Bengaluru has just clinched the 12th Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) title of his career, and is obviously ecstatic. Snatching pole position from overnight leader M Dharma, he gained five world-ranking points and a cheque for `6.46 lakh on Saturday.
Beginning 2019 with a win in the first PGTI event of the year, Chikkarangappa has his sights set on one target: 2020 Olympic qualification. “I want to make winning a habit. There is only one thing I am thinking about these days, and that is to represent my country at the Olympics,” he told this daily soon after the win.
The road to qualification will not be easy, as there are other front-runners for the spots. Shubhankar Sharma (118), Gaganjeet Bhullar (140) and Anirban Lahiri (161) are the top-three players in India. “I think Shubhankar and Anirban are favourites right now. In order to get past them, I need to win a lot more tournaments. I am happy with the way I have started this year, but winning on Asian Tour is important
“The tournaments those guys play fetch them a lot of points. I need to do the same,” the World No 461 and two-time winner on Asian Development Tour opined.
The player is also paying a lot of attention to off-course preparations. When he is not thwacking the golf ball, Chikkarangappa works on the mental aspect of his game. “I am a bit of an angry kid. I have realised that losing your cool while playing affects the outcome in a bad way, as you tend to let go of focus. To counter that, I am working on the mental aspect. I want to be calm.”
With his latest win, Chikkarangappa — who started off as a ball boy, earning `70 a day — has climbed to the fourth spot on the list of players with most PGTI wins. He shares the position with Lahiri. On Sunday night, he will fly to Australia to play in a co-sanctioned Asian Tour-European Tour tournament. “I will be there for a week. After that, I am supposed to play in New Zealand.”