Chikkarangappa sets the course on fire at Surya Nepal Masters
Kathmandu: Young S Chikkarangappa of India shot a bogey-free card of 10-under par to emerge as the leader on the opening day of the Surya Nepal Masters 2013 here on Wednesday.
Capitalising on excellent playing conditions at the Gokarna Forest Golf Resort, Chikkarangappa fired eight birdies and an eagle to start his campaign on an excellent note here.
Rashid Khan, Arshdeep Tiwana and Ajeetesh Sandhu - all shot an identical round of seven-under 65 to be three shots behind the leader.
Nepal`s biggest hope Shivaram Shrestha playing alongside the tournament favourite Anirban Lahiri shot a brilliant six-under 66 to be tied for the fifth position along with Mohd Sanju, Randhir Singh Ghotra and Shankar Das (all from India).
Lahiri was tied for the 12th position along with eight other players at 68. Defending champion Abhijit Singh Chadha, Harendra Gupta and Rafick Ali Mollah shared the ninth position at sive-under 67.
Chikkarangappa, who began his career as a ball boy about 12 years ago at Eagleton Golf Resort in Bangalore, had risen to the top of the amateur circuit winning almost all the junior and amateur titles that came his way before taking the plunge into the professional circuit.
Chikkarangappa`s ball striking was complimented by his putting as he hit all the 18 greens and reached two of the par-5s in two while making an eagle on one of them (12th).
Beginning from the first, Chikka opened with a birdie while making consecutive birdies on the third and fourth, narrowly missing an eagle on the former. With two more birdies on the seventh and ninth, he took the turn at sive-under and continued in the same vein on the back nine.
A birdie on the 10th was followed by an eagle on the 12th. He saved one more stroke on the par-3 16th before signing off with yet another birdie.
"The playing conditions were excellent. Everything went right for me. In these conditions, a three-stroke lead is healthy but one cannot be sure of a victory," Chikkarangappa said.