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Viraj Madappa becomes youngest Indian golfer to win Asian Tour title

Viraj Madappa, cheered on by hordes of teenaged fans as he finished the $350,000 event on 16 under par, became the youngest Indian to claim an Asian Tour title.

other sports Updated: Aug 12, 2018 19:07 IST
Robin Bose
Robin Bose
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Viraj Madappa,Golf,Scott Vincent
Bengaluru: Indian golfer Viraj Madappa kisses the trophy after winning of the Take Solutions Masters, Asian Tour Championship held at the Karnataka Golf Association in Bengaluru.(PTI)

It was after making the turn that he gained momentum with four birdies. “The back nine suits my eye,” he said explaining his run in that phase this week. It wasn’t till the 15th tee box that he glanced at the scores. Still back by a shot, something told him it would be his day and brought a smile. Scott Vincent, the leader, bogeyed the 16th and 17th, and by the time they arrived on the 18th green, there was none better than Viraj.

In triumph, he chose to dwell on the past two years, trying to an extent that he questioned himself many a time. His scores nosedived, leading to a change in coach and base, and also that college semester in the US. It didn’t help his golf but “helped a lot otherwise”, said Viraj, who earned his 2018 Asian Tour card through Q-school and was the Professional Golf Tour of India’s rookie of the year last season.

Back from the US and the journey of self-discovery, Viraj got back to fulfilling a promise he made in 2012. Pitted against Shubhankar Sharma in the final of the All-India Amateur Championship at Kolkata, where he learnt the sport, Viraj lost, but it showed the path ahead. “That was when I decided to make it as a pro.”

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Post Sunday, schedules, and life, will need a relook, but that’s fine with Viraj as change has been a constant lately.

Final top scores

268: Viraj Madappa (70, 65, 66, 67) ($63,000)

270: Scott Vincent (66, 71, 65, 68); Suradit Yongcharoenchai (66, 69, 69, 66); Danthai Boonma (66, 61, 73, 70); Miguel Carballo (66, 66, 67, 71) ($23,100)

272: Khalin Joshi (67, 69, 64, 72); Honey Baisoya (70, 66, 66, 70); SSP Chawrasia (69, 65, 68, 70) ($10,068)

273: Chikkarangappa S (69, 64, 68, 72) ($7,490)

First Published: Aug 12, 2018 19:02 IST