His status as the senior-most in the India squad demanded that Chikkarangappa figured in the thick of things. The 16-year-old was up to it and reeled off, in near-flawless English, his objectives for the 31st HP Asia Pacific Junior Golf Championship.
Thursday was no different, as the lad was at his eloquent best while analysing the round of 66 at the Eagleton Golf Resort. The result gave him a two-shot lead in Category A (15-17 years). Those not in the know, would have attributed the fluency to sound schooling, but that’s far from it for the Class VII dropout.
Hailing from an agrarian background, Chikka displayed his penchant for sport quite early. Be it his first love, cricket, or golf, the talent was unmistakable but the prospect of being approached by reporters after a good round made him go cold with fear.
“By the time I landed on the 17th, the mind used to freeze at the thought of having to field questions.” The boy could have succumbed to the trait, but he stood up. “I wrote down the routine questions and pasted them in my room. I practiced the answers and with time, and help from Anirban (Lahiri) and Abhishek (Jha), I improved,” he said. Ashbeer Saini came up with a 73 while Manu Gandas had the third-best score of nine-over 81. The hosts had a total of four-over 220 among boys and were three behind defending champions Thailand.