Indian pros’ reality check in Europe

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GRAN CANARIA

All four Indian players, Gaganjeet Bhullar (69,69); Ajeetesh Sandhu (66, 72), SSP Chawrasia and Shubhankar Sharma missed the cut last week in Spain in a low scoring event where the cut went at 135, with 70 players shooting 5 under par or better for 36 holes. 

Bhullar and Sandhu in particular might consider themselves unlucky as the cut mark of 135 was the lowest in the history of the European Tour on this par 70 seaside course.

Said Bhullar “The course was not so tough and there was no wind on Day 2 & 3, which led to the low scoring”. 

 A number of records fell this week. Three players broke the course record at Meloneras Golf on day two, with Sam Horsfield, Thorbjorn Olesen and Connor Syme all shooting 61. Olesen led at the half-way stage at 14-under par. A fourth player, Wu Ashen, equalled the new record with a 61 on Saturday, which is also the lowest round ever recorded by a Chinese player on the European Tour. 

South Africa’s Garrick Higgo shot 63-63 on the weekend to win by three shots and set a new European Tour record for lowest 72-hole score. His winning score of 255 (-25) broke the previous record of 257 set by Andy Sullivan just last year at the English Championship. Before that the record had stood for 32 years. David Llewellyn shot 258 (-14) to win the AGF Biarritz Open in 1988. Former Masters champion Ian Woosnam then matched that number when he won the Torras Monte Carlo Open in 1990.

The low scoring cut at 135 is a warning signal for Indian pros of the rapidly rising depth of quality players in Europe. The way scientific technique, strength and mental training is progressing – India needs to really step up the game and not live in complacency if our players are to stay competitive.  This could be interpreted as a wake-up call that although we have talent, our coaches, institutions  and youngsters need to raise our game – or our players could be rendered uncompetitive in the very near future.

With 3 Danish players in the top 7 this week – perhaps the Indian Golf Union, the Professional Golf Tour of India and the National Golf Academy of India should study what Denmark has been doing to throw up so much talent ?

 On another note – the fact is that out of 6 Asian players, 4 were Indian ( one Chinese and one Thai player were in the field) – this is a positive – Indians are willing to travel because of the language and food advantage and gain invaluable experience playing in European conditions. Let’s hope they settle down and start scoring better in the coming weeks.

 SSP Chowrasia finished a creditable 15th at the Austrian Open.

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