Ahlawat sets sight on The DGC Open

Fast-rising Indian golfer Veer Ahlawat has his sights on the inaugural The DGC Open, scheduled to be played at The Delhi Golf Club later this month.

Veer Ahlawat in action.   -  Special Arrangement

Fast-rising Indian golfer Veer Ahlawat has his sights on the inaugural The DGC Open, scheduled to be played at The Delhi Golf Club later this month.

The third event of the Asian Tour's 2022 schedule, The DGC Open is scheduled to be held from March 24 to 27.

"I played at the new layout last December in a PGTI event. I finished close to Top-10 (he was T-11). It can be tricky, especially for someone like me who likes to be aggressive," said Ahlawat.

"I love the course and the atmosphere, and it has so much history." When the Asian Tour resumed action late last year with two events in Thailand, one of the names that stood out was Ahlawat, who with a superb 67-67 over the weekend, finished in Top-10 at the Blue Canyon Championship in Phuket.

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This was his second such result after a similar T-8 at home in Panasonic Open India in 2019.

He followed that up almost immediately with a T-5 finish at the Singapore Open in January 2022, and also made it to the main field of the star-studded Saudi International, where he met Dustin Johnson, a player he admires a lot.

Currently, Ahlawat, 25, is in Thailand for two more events.

He was also happy that an additional event with a prize purse of half a million dollars presented a big opportunity for home golfers.

"Always nice to play at home," said Ahlawat, who lives in neighbouring Gurugram.

Ahlawat has come off a great season or two on the domestic PGTI Tour, which has given him great confidence. In 11 starts in 2021, he had two runner-up finishes, two third places and two other Top-10s. In 2020, when he had just seven starts, he was Top-10 six times, which included a runner-up finish.

While he has been the bridesmaid on numerous occasions in the last two years, he does have a win -- at the Indian Oil Servo Masters in Digboi in 2019. Since then, he has been looking for his second win.

"It will happen soon, I hope," Ahlawat said.

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Ahlawat was not exactly one of the early starters in the sport, which he picked up around the age of 12.

Just as he was approaching his teens, Ahlawat had two choices for a career -- a career in the Army or golf. His father, Colonel Yashpal Ahlawat and his elder sister, who is now a captain, were in the Army.

But Ahlawat veered towards golf and began to like it. However, he was not an instant success, and it was in the 2013-14 season when he began to show signs of maturing.

He confesses that he took some time to gain confidence. But the turning point was probably when he started training with Anitya Chand, one of the popular, and successful golf pros at the DLF Golf and Country Club, who saw good potential in him and took him under his wings.

In 2015, Ahlawat was runner-up at the MCB Indian Ocean Amateur golf. That year, he also made the Indian team for the prestigious Asia-Pacific Amateur Golf at Clearwater Bay course in Hong Kong.

Towards the end of 2015, Anitya convinced Ahlawat to take the plunge into pro golf. Despite not being sure, Ahlawat took the advice and played the PGTI Qualifying School and made the grade.

He turned pro in 2016, and it took till 2019 to get his first win. He awaits his next trophy, but he says that the confidence levels are growing each day.

Ahlawat hopes that 2022 will be his breakthrough year after enduring two years of disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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