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Indian origin teen is UK's golf sensation

16-yr-old Kiran Matharu from Yorkshire is dubbed 'Sania Mirza' of British golf.

india Updated: Oct 25, 2005 18:47 IST

Sixteen-year-old Kiran Matharu from Yorkshire is fast emerging as the 'Sania Mirza' of British golf - the media has already dubbed her the 'best woman golfer in the country'.

Daughter of Amarjit Matharu, a barman in Leeds, Kiran this week leaves for Texas to train under Butch Harmon, the former coach of Tiger Woods.

Sports companies Nike, Ping and Red Bull are said to be considering offering promotion contracts to Kiran, who is already being compared with American golf sensation Michele Wie.

Kiran is one of the rare Asian women playing golf in Britain, but is confident of making it at the international level. She will play in the Curtis Cup next year, for which she is the youngest member of the squad, and then turn pro.

A proud Amarjit told the Observer: "To be honest, the amateur game doesn't suit her because it's largely match play and anyone can beat anyone on a given day.

She's a stroke player and in the professional game that's what you have to be good at. The cream will always rise to the top over four rounds.

"Know the qualities you need to be the best: dedication, talent, work ethic and temperament. She has all of those. She's very determined inside but she's not very aggressive."

In a lengthy profile of Kiran, the Observer reported that her potential in gold has been endorsed by leading names such as David Leadbetter, Nick Faldo, Paul McGinley and Harmon.

The paper described her game thus: "Her practice swing is a thing of artistic beauty. So smooth, so relaxed, so natural. She bangs the ball 260 yards down the middle of the fairway without appearing to make any effort".

Unlike most of her England teammates, who started at the age of five, Kiran was a late developer. She started swinging a club only because her father was trying to get his handicap down.

The paper reported that while Amarjit was busy practicing at a pay-and-play club in Leeds, his elder son, Haminder, and Kiran were messing around.

A pro spotted Kiran and said he had never seen a girl that good. She was 11 years and had never set foot on a course. The pro thought she could be playing for Yorkshire within six months, so her father said: "I'd better buy her some clubs."

Within the next year, Kiran came down from a handicap of 38 to 12. Kiran left school this summer.

On her first tryst with the game, she said: "I wasn't really interested but I went along to the range because dad and my brother were going and I didn't have anything else to do.

"I'm doing this for myself and for my family. I want to be good. I want to be one of the best players in the world."

If reports in the British media are any indication, she will soon be the first woman golfer of Indian origin to make it to the top at the international level.