BENGALURU: Last year, two of the most promising young golfers in India – Khalin Joshi and Viraj Madappa – had announced their arrival by winning one Asian Tour events each. While Joshi finally had the monkey off his back winning the Panasonic Open India, Madappa became the youngest Indian to win on the Asian Tour, clinching the Take Solutions Masters title. After that, both of them wanted to test their mettle on the tougher European Tour, but the plan hasn’t worked for either of them.
Joshi managed only one top 10 finish while missing the cut on seven occasions in 11 tournaments he played in since the win. On the Asian and European Tour co-sanctioned events, the 26-year-old’s best finish was tied-35. The only top 10 finish came in the Golconda Masters on the PGTI Tour, where he was in the title race until the last day. But a bad final round of 73 had cost him.
For Joshi, it’s his mental side of things that needs some fix. “I would have liked to build upon the title but it has been the case of few hits and misses. I have made both technical and mental errors. But to me, it’s more to do with the mental aspect,” said Joshi, who won the PGTI Order of Merit title last year.
However, Joshi believes he has started to find form. In the last Asian Tour event (Bangabandhu Cup in Dhaka), he started well with a five-under-67 but had to pull out due to a neck injury. “I’ve started to gain some momentum. In Dhaka, I was playing well but, unfortunately, I pulled my neck muscle and could not continue on the second day,” Joshi said. “I didn’t really have an off-season so I couldn’t work on my game. Before the China Open, I will have time to work on that and hopefully, I will get my game back in the coming weeks.”
Meanwhile, Madappa took part in 16 events, mostly on the Asian and European Tour, and managed just two top 10 finishes (fourth in Yeangder Tournament Players Championships and tied-ninth in Indonesian Masters). The 20-year-old, who is based in Bengaluru, missed the cut on nine occasions.
While Madappa has overcome his mental barrier, it’s his change in the swing that is yet to bed in. He hasn’t been able to control it fully and that has cost a fair bit of points on the Tour. His coach Tarun Sardesai believes, as the season progresses, he will be able to gain better control.
“It’s a transition period for him as we made a few technical changes to his game at the end of the last season. It will take him time to master the new technique, so I’m not too worried about it. It’s coming together slowly. The more he plays the better he will get. I feel in the latter half of the season, he will surely do well,” said Sardesai.