Finally, the four-year waits end, Kochhar pockets maiden pro-title

In November 2016, Kolkota, then at 17 years and four months, Karandeep Kochhar became the first amateur to win the PGTI (Professional Golf Tour of India) title. The efforts also got him to better Shubhankar Sharma’s record of 17 years and eight months to become the country’s youngest to win the title. Kochhar turned professional the very next year in February.

Now, after a long wait of almost four years, 45 tournaments in the PGTI circuit, finally, Kochhar won his maiden pro title at the Tata Steel Players Championship 2020 presented by the Chandigarh Golf Club on Thursday.

The leader of the last two days, Kochhar taking full advantage of his home course, played a round of three-under-69 to complete his tally at 18-under-270 to pocket the winner’s cheque of Rs 4.84 lakh. Kolkota’s Sunit Chowrasia finished second at 16-under-272, while another Chandigarh golfer and last event’s winner Akshay Sharma finished third at 14-under-274.

“It’s obviously a long awaited win. It’s been almost four years since I turned professional, I was searching for this opportunity. In the past, I came close to winning and finished at second place three-four times. I was even placed second last week in Panchkula and that built my momentum for this win. I am really happy for today’s victory and being my first pro title, it will always remain a special for me in the years to come,” said elated Kochhar. “Though over the years I was not able to win the title, I remained very calm, focused and kept on working on my game. And today, finally, I am able to break the jinx.”

Overall I am in a better shape

Kochhar started the tournament with six-under-66 and maintained his consistency till the end (66-68-67-69). In the tournament, he had just two bogeys. “I have put in a lot of work in the past two-three months, especially in the gym and that has helped me a lot. My confidence is up, I am much healthier, have changed my lifestyle, the way I eat, the way I sleep and the way I work. Overall I am in a better shape. In the last two-months I had played a lot of golf at my home course and have been very much familiar with the course. And our weekly in-house pro tournaments at Chandigarh Golf Club also helped me to prepare better for the tournament,” said Kochhar, who is visiting the course with his grandfather Dr GS Kochhar since he was little above three.

He started the sport at an early age and had been the top ranked golfer in the age group categories in the amateur circuit. He also won the 116th All-India Amateur Championship in December 2016, before turning professional. Since childhood, Kochhar’s life revolves around golf and he even took a break from studies after his 12th board exams, so that he could concentrate only on the sport. “Golf is very important for me and my life revolves around it. My entire day goes to the sport and after 12th board I had taken a break from the studies. But now, I will pursue my graduation from next year,” said Kochhar. “I will take a few days break, after that I along with my coach (Jesse Grewal) will do analysis of my game and will work on my shortcomings or wherever we need to improve. My next target is the Jeev invitational tournament to be held next month in Chandigarh.”

Chowrasia played today’s best card of 10-under-62 and also broke the previous course record of 8-under-64 jointly held by Rashid Khan, Sudhir Sharma and Abhijit Singh Chadha.

Chandigarh golfer Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (67) and Gurugram’s Veer Ahlawat (70) were joint fourth at 13-under-275.

Abhijit Singh Chadha (66) in tied sixth at 11-under-277 and Aadil Bedi (68) in tied 10th at nine-under-279 were the other two local players in the top-10.

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