Last year, Pranavi Urs suffered from a shoulder injury on the opening day of the Asian Games trials at the KGA golf course in Bengaluru.
But fate had a second chance in store for her.
Shortly after last year’s trials were completed and the final men’s and women’s Indian teams were announced, the quadrennial event, scheduled to be held in the Chinese city of Hangzhou in September 2022, had been postponed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Once I found out that the Asian Games had been postponed to 2023, I was really looking forward to another chance and just wanted to know if they’re going to have trials or not,” Pranavi told Sportstar.
The trials were indeed held again last week at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club, and this time, the 20-year-old did not miss the opportunity.
Pranavi, trailing fellow Bengaluru golfer Avani Prashanth by one shot after the second round, carded 3-under 69 to finish at 10-under 206 and tied the teenager for the top spot. “I’m glad that I made it. It’s always been one of my dreams to play the Asian Games and it’s just the first step,” she said.
The duo will be joined by senior golfer and Olympian Aditi Ashok for the Asian Games, which will be held this year from September 23 to October 8. “Aditi has always been my idol. I’ve always looked up to her and to see Avani also in the team is really cool. To see the Karnataka girls playing at the Asian Games and even on the men’s side - Anirban (Lahiri) and Khalin Joshi - both from Bangalore. So, five out of seven. It’s a pretty good number,” said Pranavi, India’s top-ranked female golfer last year on the Women’s Professional Golf Tour (WPGT) - Order of Merit.
After staying out for a month due to her shoulder injury, Pranavi played the seventh leg of the WPGT 2022 at Prestige Golfshire in Bengaluru in June without any practice. And despite that, she shot 11-under 205 for the week, grabbing the title by four shots.
That win gave her confidence as she then went on to win the ninth leg as well as 12th leg before going to the LPGA Qualifying School, one of the toughest golf tournaments in the world, in California. She qualified for the second stage of the event after a T32 finish in the first. However, she could not make the cut in the Top-45 list in the second stage, therefore, failed to make it to the Qualifying Series.
“I’ve been working a lot in terms of my strength and conditioning and a lot of rehab,” said the 20-year-old, who won the second leg of this year’s WPGT in Mumbai and finished inside Top-20 at South Africa Women’s Open.
Pranavi took up the sport at the age of six after watching her brother and father play golf at Jayachamaraja Wadiyar Golf Club in Mysuru and credits Dream Foundation for supporting her career. She said, “When I was 15, Dream Foundation reached out through GoSports and they really helped me transform from an amateur to professional - helping me with my nutritionist, my strength and conditioning. The more sponsors reach out to different juniors, that’ll be very helpful.”
Pranavi, who trains under renowned coach Steven Giuliano, is set to leave for Epson Tour and has her goals set for the rest of the year. “I want to have a card on the LPGA, hopefully by playing the Epson and obviously, to win a medal at the Asian Games with Aditi and Avani. Most importantly, to be injury-free,” she said.
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