The KGA course, with its tight fairways and tough greens, presents a formidable challenge to all title contenders.
It is indeed commendable, therefore, that five amateurs made the cut after the first two rounds concluded on Friday.
Two of them — S. Chikkarangappa and Khalin Joshi — have taken it a step further, shooting fine scores today to prove that their presence here is no fluke.
Local lad Chikkarangappa shot a superb four-under 67 on Saturday and will start the final round on Sunday in 10th position.
For the caddie-turned-golfer, it was a long time coming. “This is my fourth year here at the Indian Open, and I didn’t make the cut in the first three editions. I was desperate to make the cut here, and then perform well on the weekend,” Chikkarangappa said.
The 18-year-old played his round with Australian Scott Hend on Saturday, an accomplished golfer with seven titles on the pro-circuit. Chikkarangappa had an interesting reply when asked about what he learnt from the experience.
“It’s a big boost to play with Scott Hend, one of the biggest hitters on the Asian and European Tour. If you look at his game, you may think of hitting it long too. But you have to focus on your own game, and do only what works for you. This kind of analysis, for example, comes only from getting the opportunity to play in these events.”
For Khalin Joshi — also from Bangalore — the positives arrived in more conventional fashion.
“It is a great experience playing here. Watching the top golfers, you can learn by watching the way they compose themselves, the way they read the lines, use time management techniques and lots of other things. This is a high level of golf, and I’ve been talking to the players and taking their advice,” Joshi, who lies 27th after a two-under, said.
Both Joshi and Chikkarangappa, however, were unanimous in their view that this tournament will serve as a tremendous help when they begin their imminent pro-circuit careers.
Amateurs in the field (position after three rounds):
10th- S. Chikkarangappa; 27th- Khalin Joshi; 57th- Angad Cheema; 63rd- Honey Baisoya; 73rd- Udayan Mane.