Kolkata: He was once considered ‘the wall’ of Indian batting and now, post retirement, Rahul Dravid is helping emerging sportspersons and golfer S Chikkarangappa is one among them.
Inspired by Dravid’s mentorship, the 21-year-old Bengaluru lad is eyeing the numero uno position in the 2014 Rolex Rankings for the PGTI order of merit and is on a high having won his maiden International at the Asian Development Tour.
“It’s a dream come true to be mentored by the legendary Rahul Dravid. I’ve been associated with him for last six months,” Chikka said giving credit to ‘Dravid Sir’ for his rise in Indian golfing scene.
“He told me ‘always try to be in the situation. Focus on the particular day and leave the past behind’, which is in fact working for me,” he said about the mentorship programme by Go Sports Foundation that also has paralympic swimmer Sharath Gayakwad.
The former India captain is an ambassador of the GoSports Foundation, which is working to empower Indian sportspersons through their programme.
“I had always been a big fan of him as Test cricket was my favourite sport, but I fell in love with golf as I grew up near a golf course,” Chikka, who lives at Bidadi in the outskirts of Bengaluru, said.
“He’s currently busy with the India-Australia series but we expect him to be with us during January-February next year.”
His association with Dravid did the trick as Chikka became the second Indian after Sujjan Singh to win on the Asian Development Tour when he bounced back with a final round of five-under 67 to win the TAKE Solutions India Masters at his home course Eagleton.
Chikka 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 $70,000 event.
Placed second behind Om Prakash Chouhan (Rs 4,191,750), Chikka (3,975,836) with nine-under-135 is one stroke behind second placed Rashid Khan after day two of the ongoing McLeod Russel Tour Championship that will determine the winner of the 2014 Rankings.
Rashid is incidentally placed fourth in the order of merit with a purse of Rs 2,719,800, as a top three finish will brighten prospects for Chikka to clinch the No 1 position.
Having turned pro in 2013, Chikka has posted three wins on PGTI Tour this year winning Surya Nepal Masters (April), Kashmir Masters (July) and CG Open early this month.