The recently concluded 2013 Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) Qualifing School at Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) has thrown up some very interesting young names and encouraging results for the future of professional golf in India.
Many amateur players, including sub-junior and junior ones, have secured their playing privileges for the 2013 PGTI season. The prominent ones are Khalin Joshi, Subhankar Sharma, Honey Baisoya, Chikkarangappa, Ashbeer Saini and Angad Cheema. Besides them, few golfers from the neighbouring countries such as Pakistan and Sri Lanka and a South African player have made the cut, thereby reinforcing the international flavour.
Creditably, Young Khalin’s eight under par was only a stroke short of matching the Chowrasia’s winning score at the season ender PGTI Tour Championship at the same RCGC course two weeks ago.
Youngsters turning pro
A few important aspects that stand out clearly are that the players are turning professionals at an earlier age as compared to a decade ago. The main reason behind this: the parents feel that there is not much point in remaining an amateur for more than two or three years. The young turks have set their sights on higher professional tours like Asian, European and USPGA.
Tried and tested path
They (youngsters) are following the tried and tested path followed by Gaganjeet Bhullar, Anirban Lahiri, Himmat Rai and Abhijeet Chadha. They all competed on the Toyota Indian Golf Union (IGU) junior and sub-junior circuits in the country for few years and then made their way to the amateur circuit, representing India in the events like Asian Games, Asia Pacific Amateur (Nomura Cup), World Amateur (Eisenhower Trophy), and then finally turning professional. The followed path had reaped success and then a year or so in the PGTI helped them graduate to next level and leave their mark on the Asian Tour. Surprisingly, none of them have graduated onto the European Tour as yet.
Another important fact that emerges is that the Toyota IGU junior and sub-junior tour is an excellent starting platform for the youngsters to hone their competitive and mental skills. After the success of the above youngsters in the Q School (qualifying school), the next crop wouldn’t stay in the amateur circuit for long. And the recent result of eight under par for sure will motivate more and more budding golfers to do well.
The higher Q School finishers will even get to play the joint sanctioned PGTI and Asian tour events like the Hero Indian Open, SAIL SBI Open, Panasonic Open.
The next target
The next target will be PGTI Tournaments for 2013. The 36 hole cut scores are now bound to go down further as only the top 50 scores and ties make it to the final two rounds and with these capable players there will be more depth in the field. These young players have shown tremendous faith in the PGTI Tour by taking the plunge into the professional ranks.
The writer is Arjuna Awardee golfer and Member Board of Directors, Professional Golf Tour of India