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Chhibber checks in

Delhi youngster impresses in IndianOil Servo Masters golf, scales nine places in PGTI rankings

New Delhi: Saarthak Chhibber likes to keep things simple. Like he did at the recently concluded IndianOil Servo Masters Golf Tournament in Assam to finish tied third and attain a career-best ranking in the Tata Steel Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) charts since turning pro two years ago.

The 23-year-old Chhibber, who trains under Indian legend Gaurav Ghei at the Delhi Golf Club, carded an impressive 66 on the final day to finish with a total of 16-under 272, two shots behind the winner Om Prakash Chauhan. The Delhi youngster’s Round 4 score was the joint lowest of the day along with Vikrant Chopra and Gaurav Pratap Singh, who finished tied 8th and tied 16th  respectively.

Saarthak Chhibber

Chauhan extended his domination on the PGTI Tour this year with a sterling display at the picturesque Digboi Golf Links that is adjacent to the Dehing Forest Reserve. He carded a four-under in round four to finish with 18-under 270, to pip runner-up Sachin Bisoya (17-under 271) by one shot. Kapil Kumar shared the tied third spot with Chhibber.

It was the third title of the season for 37-year-old Chauhan which helped him retain his lead in the PGTI rankings. The earnings from this Rs 80-lakh event also saw the Madhya Pradesh golfer swell his kitty to Rs 96,41,619 to get past Manu Gandas’ 2022 previous season’s earnings record of Rs 88,50,688.

It was the second time this season that Chhibber finished tied for third, the first being at the inaugural Vizag Open in September, won by Sri Lanka’s N Thangaraja. His display in Digboi also saw him scale nine spots in the PGTI rankings and land a career-best position of 25 this week.

Saarthak Chhibber

Chhibber is chuffed with his finish in Digboi which featured 119 professionals, including heavyweights like Chauhan, Olympian Udayan Mane, Rahil Gangjee, Sachin Baisoya, Aman Raj, N Thangaraja, Harshjeet Singh Sethie, Jamal Hossain, Gaurav Pratap Singh, Honey Baisoya and Akshay Sharma.

“All days were good except for the first day when I hit a triple bogey on the last hole,” he told on his return from the North Eastern state. “It is a course that rewards you if you keep it simple. I kept doing the basics right and kept hitting the fairways and greens,” said the promising golfer, who is yet to land a sponsor.

Chhibber, who started taking golf seriously after he turned 12, is not looking too far ahead and wants to finish the year by climbing the PGTI rankings ladder which will open up more opportunities in 2024. “There are four events left in the year and I want to do well in all of them. My immediate goal is to move up the rankings by the end of 2023 because it will help me a lot in the year ahead,” he said.