Kochhar Walking Tall at Faldo Series India Boys Championship 2016-12-05
Following his triumph in the Faldo Series India Boys Championship, Karandeep Kochhar is aiming to get his hands on the distinctive Faldo Series Asia Grand Final trophy.
Pune, India (December 1): There’s no stopping record-setting teenager Karandeep Kochhar.
Still on a high after writing his name into the record books as theyoungest golfer and first Indian amateur to win on the Professional Golf Tourof India (PGTI), the 17-year-old topped the leaderboard in the Faldo Series India Boys Championship.
Three weeks after his historic triumph againstmany of India’s leading professionals, the six-foot tall student saw off hisrivals inthe 16th leg of the record-breaking 2016-17Faldo Series Asia season.
Having taken control with anopening-round five-under-par 67 at the Oxford Golf and Country Club in Pune,Kochhar kept his pursuers at bay with further rounds of 71, 75 and 73.
With a 72-hole total of two-under 286, heended no fewer than 17 shots clear of Jay Pandya, who settled for secondplace in the Boys’ Under-18 category.
Kochhar’s closest challenger overall was Kartik Sharma on290. For Sharma there was the considerable consolation of topping the standingsin the Boys’ Under-16 segment, atoning for his loss to Arjun Prasad in asudden-death play-off 12 months earlier.
Prasad, who went onto to be crowned as the winner of the10th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, was unable to defend his Indian title thisyear.
As age group champions in 2016, Kochhar and Sharma havesecured starting places in the R&A WorldAmateur Golf Ranking-counting 11th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to behosted by Sir Nick Faldo at Laguna Lăng Cô in Danang, Central Vietnam, inMarch, 2017.
They will be joined at the award-winningFaldo Design course by left-handed Diksha Dagar, who triumphed for the secondyear in succession in the Faldo Series India Girls’ Championship, Tvesa Malik(Girls’ Under-21 champion) and Amrita Anand (Girls’ Under-18 champion).
Much focus of attention at the Grand Final will inevitablyfall on Kochhar following his astonishing exploits in the PGTI Players Championshippresented by Tollygunge Club at the start of November.
The Chandigarh resident fired a brilliant closing eight-under-62, thebest round of the tournament, to sweep to a three-stroke triumph that earnedhim national exposure.
“It was an unbelievable feeling to win despite such a strongfield of professionals. It’s done wonders to my confidence and self-belief,”said Kochhar, who is seeking the counsel of his family as to the timing of himrelinquishing his amateur status and joining the ranks of those whoplay-for-pay.
Six-time Major champion Faldo, Britain’smost successful golfer, said: “Congratulations to Karandeep on what has been anincredible month for him and his development as a golfer. For a young amateurto beat a field of professionals is a proud achievement. To then follow that upwith another victory is also an impressive feat.
“India remains the only country on theFaldo Series Asia schedule in which separate tournaments are staged for theboys and girls. My thanks to the Indian Golf Union event for their continuedsupport to junior golf.”
Supported by The R&A and endorsed by the Asian Tourand the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2016-17 Faldo Series Asia campaignstretches over 11 months.
As well as two events in China, India and Thailand,championships are staged in Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chinese-Taipei,Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, thePhilippines, Singapore and Vietnam.
Recognised as the only global amateur series for boys andgirls, the Faldo Series was established in 1996, expanding to Asia in 2006. Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-pluscountries worldwide, touching more than 7,000 golfers each year. Past winnersinclude Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, both multiple Major winners.