It’s not one of those fairytales where several years ago a well-heeled father led his three-year-old to the manicured greens of a golf course and the infant took to the sport instinctively.
Chinnaswamy Muniyappa’s foray was dictated by a cruel twist of fate. Weighed down by debt, his family was forced to sell off its small tract in Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu, and relocate to Bangalore in a bid to start afresh.
The quest for a better life took the young parents to the Karnataka Golf Association and they joined the workforce of daily wagers with a three-year-old Muniyappa in tow.
Education a distant dream, the youngster embarked on a journey that initially promised little. But caddying for the rich and famous instilled in the frail frame a burning desire to make it to the pro ranks. He was laughed at but Chinnapayyon, or as he is known among friends and means the young one, held firm.
The results may have taken time, but even at 32, Muniyappa is willing to wait for his hour under the sun. It arrived on Friday as he finished Day II of the Hero Honda Indian Open in joint lead with Korea's Lee Sung.
After Thursday’s 66, which saw him tied at third spot, the day's three-under initially didn’t seem enough to challenge the might of Adam Blyth, but the overnight leader blinked. In contention several times this year, the Aussie is known to fall away at crucial junctures and a similar situation arose at the DLF Golf & Country Club. Blyth started off well and was even leading by a shot after the 12th when “it started to go wrong”. Three consecutive bogeys meant he slipped to fourth.
A birdie on the 17th came to the rescue and ensured he broke even for the day and moved up a spot to be tied third with Digvijay Singh at eight-under 136. “I didn't hit any bad shot, it was really just bad luck,” Blyth was to say later.
Muniyappa picked up two consecutive shots post some intial hiccups. After making the turn, two more birdies came his way and with it came the resolve to stay put.
Asked if the novel situation had brought with it additional pressure, the man replied with a straight face: "I am used to playing in the leadergroup in Indian conditions. Besides, the confidence of playing regularly on the Asian Tour will come handy.” The cut was applied at one-over and ensured that top Indian names like Gaganjeet Bhullar and SSP Chowrasia sneaked in.