Local lads raring to go

S Chikkarangappa and Khalin Joshi may not have had the best start to the season but the duo comein to the tournament with an edge. Having played at the same course since their teenage days, they know it like the back of their hands.

While Chikkarangappa’s best finish this year has been tied-27 at the Yeangder Heritage in Chinese Taipei, Khalin ended an admirable ninth at the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open in Dhaka.

“Sometimes you do well and sometimes you are suddenly in bad form. Some weeks you’re trying to knock and it just doesn’t happen. As a professional that happens to everyone. You just have to learn how to face it and get out of it,” said Chikkarangappa, evaluating his year so far.

“Had a good one-month break after that and sorted out a lot of things, mentally and physically. Spent quality time with my coach. I’m a much happier person now.”

Chikkarangappa also revealed that there were chinks in his armour that needed to be tightened. Having kicked-off his pre-tournament practice session with 14 holes on Monday, the 23-year-old divulged: “My putting has been a little off for quite some time. That’s been my strength since the day I started golf and that’s been a little off. I have completely changed the way I putt, compared to what it was before. For me to be on the next level...I had to do it.” He added that he had brought about some changes in terms of his putter grip and body posture to strengthen his long game.

Khalin, on the other hand, said the feeling was good at the moment and was eager to get started at his home course. “I’m just going to keep things simple and keep doing what I’m doing right. There’s is a slight advantage since it’s my home course so I’m confident of doing well. Competition is good so let’s see how the weekend pans out.”

Chikkarangappa voiced similar sentiments about playing at KGA saying he and his friend Khalin could be a little under the pump when it came to expectations from the crowd.

“The last two times I won, there were always expectations from people. These are people who have always followed me and cheered for me. There is always pressure from the home crowd. 

“At the same time there is also the positivity of them coming out and screaming for you when you make birdies. That’s a really nice feeling. The last two times, I’ve won the events on the last hole with the last putt,” he recollected.

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