Kolkata: Poster boy of Indian golf, Anirban Lahiri and cricketing great Rahul Dravid are like 'pillars'
behind the success of Bengaluru lad S Chikkarangappa who on Sunday clinched his maiden Rolex Player of the Year title for the PGTI order of merit.
Having become the youngest winner of the Rolex Ranking (order of merit), the 22-year-old on Sunday acknowledged Dravid's tips to build mental strength and the "guardian-like" guidance of Lahiri and common 'guru' Vijay Divecha.
"I've always followed them. They are like my guardians and put me on the right path," the Pro from the Eagleton Golf Resort said after his win.
"I was lying low but Lahiri (Saturday and Friday) told me you can do it, it's a matter of one perfect round and I did it. With Anirban winning the Asian Tour Order of Merit this year, it's a proud moment for the 'family'," beamed Chikkarangappa.
Indian caddy-turned-golfer S Chikkarangappa (AFP Photo)
On Dravid's inputs, he said: "He always tells me to set a target and his guidance on boosting mental strength is really helpful. I will meet him in 10 days' time."
Chikka is under the mentorship programme by Go Sports Foundation, of which Dravid is a brand ambassador.
Having missed the cut in the Asian Tour, Chikka brought in Lahiri's former caddie Narsimha, and "he made the difference".
"His (Narasimha) inputs were quite useful. The focus will now be on making it back on the Asian Tour through the Qualifying School and thereafter doing well on the tour," an elated Chikka added.
Chikka (68-69-70-69) had a final round of three-under 69 to secure a one-shot win with a 12-under-276 total at the season-ending McLeod Russel Tour golf Championship. Third overnight, Chikka was three off the lead at the start of the day and he produced a steady round with pars on the first three holes. He started making inroads with birdies on the fourth and sixth, having converted a 15-footer on the latter. Chikka made the turn at one-under after dropping a shot on the eighth where his ball was plugged in the bunker.
"It's amazing to win the biggest tournament on the PGTI and also the Rolex Ranking title on the same day. Emerging Order of Merit champion is special for me because I've been finishing second on the merit list for the last two years. I'm also delighted to have won here at RCGC," he said.