Next Stop For Indians: Vietnam

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Following the 3-month buildup, the IIFL Wealth Golf Invitational Faldo Series India culminated at Karnataka Golf Association (KGA), Bengaluru, in enthralling fashion.

The fairways were in good shape and the lightning greens were a test for young golfers. Sifat Alag (Girls Under-21), who represented India last year at the Faldo Series Asia Final, commented that the conditions at KGA were very similar to the Laguna Lang Co Golf Club — host of the Asia Final — perhaps indicating that this would serve as a great prelude to the main event in March.

Windy conditions in the morning did not make it easy for golfers on Day 1, but they acclimatised and returned with better scores on Day 2.

It all boiled down to who managed to keep their composure on the final day. In the Boys Under-18, Rahul Ajay — who came through the club selection round at Hyderabad — held his nerves in the back nine to secure victory against seasoned opponent, and the country’s No. 2 Amateur, Kartik Sharma.

“It was the first time I was playing the tournament and it feels good to win. The course was in great condition and I completely enjoyed playing. My plan for Vietnam now is to focus and prepare well for the Asia Final.” – Rahul Ajay, Winner, Boys Under-18

The excitement, however, was in the Girls Under-16 category where Pranavi Urs was up against Anika Varma. Requiring a par on the final hole, nerves got the better of young Pranavi who had to settle for a bogey instead, thereby taking the match to a sudden death play-off.

The playoff came down to pure adrenaline and hunger as the pair played with the composure of professionals. Pranavi made par to Anika’s birdie, which gave the Mysuru teenager the win and made her the official qualifier to represent India in Vietnam.

The par also gave Pranavi the award for the best golfer with the lowest score over the 3 days outclassing the boys.

“It felt great to win the tournament and I was happy to start off the season by winning. I am looking forward to Vietnam and I hope I make the country proud.” – Pranavi Urs, Winner, Girls Under-16

Tanirika Singh (Girls Under-21), Surya Kumar K (Boys Under-21) and the near 6’4” Harshjeet Singh Sethie (Boys Under-16) were winners in the other categories.

“I went with a mindset of winning the tournament and the outcome was great. This is the first time I am going for the Asia final and I think it is a great opportunity for me to do well and try to win.” – Harshjeet Singh Sethie, Winner, Boys Under-16

“Going into the tournament, my form was not great but things worked out well for me on the course. It is a great feeling to represent the country and I am going to give my best for the Asia Final.” – Surya Kumar K, Winner, Boys Under-21

Besides the golf, special sessions on mental toughness and fitness were organised for children and teachers. Dr. Shree Advani, brother of cueist Pankaj Advani, spoke about the importance of mental strength and visualisation. The second session was conducted by Varun Shetty from Invictus Performance Lab who emphasised and explained the importance of proper diet, nutrition and good rest.

(Read more in the February issue of Golf Digest India. Download here.

(Read more in the February issue of Golf Digest India. Download here.

(Read more in the February issue of Golf Digest India. Download here.

(Read more in the February issue of Golf Digest India. Download here.

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