At the age of 16, there are few things which bring smile on Karandeep Kochhar’s face and spending time at the greens, which makes this teenager’s day, is definitely one of them.
Ranked second in the 15 to 18 years Category A in Order of Merit, Kochhar spends close to three to four hours daily at the Chandigarh Golf Association (CGA) Range, honing his skills and working on his game. The practice time increases on holidays and vacations.
Karandeep, who is in Taiwan to participate in the Asian Pacific Junior Golf Championship, has spent considerable time at the Range to prepare for the event.
“The courses outside India are fast, so the game requires a fair bit of tinkering. The chipping and putts become important. On the greens, there is very little margin for error. I have been working hard for the past few weeks and will definitely have to draw on my experience and of the others who have played there,” the youngster said before leaving for Taiwan.
Recently, Karandeep finished a creditable fourth among the international participants at the US Teens Golf Championship played at Pinehurst, North Carolina in USA. He was placed eighth overall among 130 participants from 30 countries, including Thailand, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Mexico, Sweden, Dominion Republic, Hungary, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Japan, Panama, USA, Russia, Singapore, Bangladesh, China, Myanmar and South Africa.
“This year has been good for me, I have managed to do well in India and I am geared up for the event in Taiwan too,” added Karandeep who is a student of Class 11 at St John's High School, Sector 26.
He finished second in IGU junior golf tournament in Jaipur and took top honours in the Gurgaon leg of the event. Besides a fourth finish at the AEPTA, New Delhi, Karandeep finished runner-up in Bangalore.
Due to his rankings in the Order of Merit, the youngster is also a member of the Indian junior national squad which consists of top four players of the country.
Karandeep was drawn towards the game when he started accompanying his grandfather, Dr GS Kochhar, to the golf course. “I used to follow him to the course and tried my hands at the game. I was three-year-old at that time. Slowly, I developed interest in the game and I enrolled myself with coach Jesse Garewal,” said Karandeep whose father Sandeep Kochhar is in real estate, while his mother is a counsellor in a school in Chandigarh.
Karandeep has not only won in India but has won accolades abroad too. Recently, he finished third in the Truevision Junior Golf meet in Thailand and in September this year, as a member of the India squad, he will take part in the Asia Pacific Amateur Junior golf championship in Hong Kong.
In January this year Karandeep secured a berth in the Asian Golf Tournament of Champions which is part of the Asian Circuit of International Junior Golf Tour. Earlier, too, Karandeep finished second in the 33rd Asia Pacific Golf Championship held in Myanmar three years ago.
The same year he was winner in the Coastal Junior Golf Tour at the Castle Bay Country Club, North Carolina in USA.
Karandeep eventually wants to turn professional but said he is bidding his time waiting for the right opportunity to take the plunge.
“Right now my focus is on improving my game and, of course, on gaining experience playing in different conditions and in different parts of the world. I don’t have a long-term plan right now but yes, I do have aims, which I would like to achieve. Like one of them is to play on the PGA tour. I am working on those lines and enjoying the game,” said Karandeep, who idolises Jordan Spieth.