Local favourite Chikkarangappa S made a valiant comeback with a final round of five-under 67 to earn his maiden international win at the Asian Development Tour's TAKE Solutions India Masters in Bangalore on Saturday.
Chikkarangappa, playing at his home course Eagleton, overcame the overnight six-shot deficit as he posted a tournament total of 18-under 270 to achieve a remarkable two-stroke victory at the USD 70,000 event.
Abhishek Jha, another Bangalorean and good friend and practice partner of Chikka, shot a contrasting three-over 75 to finish runner-up at 16-under 272 despite starting the day with a six-shot lead.
Chikkarangappa (64-70-69-67), who was overnight tied second and nursing an injury in his left wrist, had a three-shot swing early in his favour as he converted a 25-footer for birdie on the third even as Abhishek Jha (66-66-65-75) dropped bogeys on the third and fourth.
Abhishek three-putted on the third and found the trees on the fourth. Chikka narrowed the gap to two shots after making a tricky 10-feet birdie putt on the eighth.
Both the Eagleton-based professionals birdied the 10th but Jha conceded another shot with a three-putt for bogey on the 12th. Chikka finally drew level with Jha thanks to a 30-feet birdie conversion on the 15th.
Chikka, who became the second Indian after Sujjan Singh to win on the Asian Development Tour, said, "I'm delighted to finally win at my home course. Last few events I was right up there on the leaderboard but couldn't somehow take my chances. The 30-feet birdie putt on the 15th was the turning point today. I felt I had the momentum from there on. Then after Abhishek's double-bogey on the next hole, I made sure I birdied the 17th.
"I felt I came back really well after the setback with the triple-bogey on the second day and the injury to my wrist on the third day. I couldn't sleep till late last night due to the pain in my wrist and had to keep applying ice on it to be ready for the final round. I dedicate this win to my late grandfather who passed away last week."
Sweden's Nils Floren fired a 67 in the final round to finish third at 14-under 274. C Muniyappa of Bangalore returned a 66 to share fourth place with Niall Turner of Ireland at 13-under 275.