Bangkok, Thailand, 07 Jun 2018

Chikkarangappa shines with a 65 on day one of Thailand Open, occupies tied second

India's Chikkarangappa produced his best round on the Asian Tour in 2018, a five-under-65, to be placed one behind the leader in tied second in round one of the Thailand Open.Thailand’s Natipong Srithong seized the opening round lead with a 64 at the Thai Country Club.

Chikka, who shared second place with Thai golfers Jazz Janewattananond and Sarit Suwannarut, went through an intensive two-day training with his coach in Bengaluru last week to iron out his erratic golf game which resulted in four out of seven missed cuts in 2018.

The 24-year-old Chikka, a double winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), took advantage of a hot putter as he totalled 23 putts in a round of six birdies and a lone bogey.

Chikka said, "This is my best round in a long time. It was a very solid round. My putting was amazing, I made 23 putts today. I holed some clutch par putts and that’s where I managed to keep going.

"I’ve been going through a lot of changes and not being able to progress in the right way. It has been a year of the half now and I spend two solid days with my coach (Vijay Divecha). I was swinging all over the place previously but now I have it under control.

"I was a bit nervous obviously coming into this week because I’ve been making so many changes. But after my lesson with my coach, I’m feeling more confident with my game.

"As for the bogey on 18, that was probably the only bad shot I hit the whole day. It was right to left wind as I was about to hit my shot and my ball hit the tree and entered the left hazard. It is okay, you tend to have bad shots in a round. You can’t help it.

"To be honest, the line of my putt was very tricky and I hit a great putt but I didn’t get the speed right. I felt bad the putt didn’t go in but I was happy because I read the line correctly. I’ve been able to read the greens very well here so I should take the positives going into the coming rounds.

"I was the last person to earn a full Asian Tour card last year and it was a great relief to me. I’ve been working with my coach and making sure that I don’t end up in the same situation I was (on the Habitat for Humanity Standings)."

Rashid Khan was tied 14th at three-under-67 while the trio of Chiragh Kumar, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Himmat Rai were in joint 43rd with scores of one-under-69.

Source: Asian Tour

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