Like his career of late, Gavin Green’s fortunes at the Hero Indian Open golf leapfrogged on Saturday, finishing a shot shy of clubhouse leader SSP Chawrasia and two others.
Just two seasons into his professional career, the 23-year-old Malaysian had reckoned, like most, it would be a slow ascent. Coming through the amateur ranks, he had had a feel of the summit, ranked 12th in the world at one point, but that can often mean little on the demanding pro circuit.
After a run in the wilderness on the Asian Tour last season, he stands 41st on the order of merit. The initiation may have been tough but Green showed his worth on the developmental tour by winning twice last year to secure his card on the main tour.
Praise from Justin Rose
He had the inclination early by securing a top-six finish at the Selangor Masters at home in 2013. There was no financial return as Green was still an amateur, but the gains otherwise were priceless.
The climb of 15 spots at the DLF Golf & Country Club on the penultimate day wasn’t just noticed in nearby circles. After a birdie-bogey start, the putter was on fire and the birdies between the fifth and tenth had Justin Rose (England’s 2013 US Open and Rio Olympics champion) tweeting, “Go on @gavingreen93… six birdies in a row in India…”
But for the dropped shot on the 16th, he could well have had a share of the clubhouse lead as he ended with a birdie. Six-under and with a hole to play, it would have been frustrating to stop just before the finish line, but bearing with the cascading effect of weather delays comes with his job.
Building Malaysia’s golf legacy
Hailing from a nation with numerous golf courses but negligible legacy, Green owes much of his skills to college golf in the United States. Along the way, Green has set milestones but the crowning glory of the nascent career was turning out at the Olympics last year.
Teaming up with Danny Chia, who began the third round here with a birdie to go into the lead briefly, the results at Rio were negligible, but the tag of an Olympian is spoken of with pride.
Hailing from a middle-class background, the family has had to let go. Green’s father quit his job in the hospitality industry to carry the bag for the elder son. As the younger one starts to show promise, more such deeds could follow.