Four Indians earn Asian Tour cards

Aadil Bedi, Abhijit Chadha, Chiragh Kumar, Aman Raj all earned cards for the Asian Tour

Chiragh Kumar, a former winner on Asian Tour, and Abhijit Chadha shot 71 each to earn a full card.   -  G.P. SAMPATHKUMAR

Four Indian golfers, including young Aadil Bedi, earned a full card for the next season of Asian Tour after the completion of the fifth and final round of Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage here Sunday.

Bedi took his first major step in pro golf, rounding off the week with a bogey-free eight-under 63 in the fifth round to jump from Tied-36th to Tied-ninth and earn a full card for the Asian Tour in 2019.

The 17-year-old shot rounds of 67, 72, 68, 69 and 63 at 16-under to emerge as the best Indian in the field.

After the second cut applied at the end of 72 holes, the top 70 and ties fought for the 35 and ties to get priority for the coming year.

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Another Indian showing great grit and form was Aman Raj, who shot five-under 66 to move from overnight T-27 to T-13.

Chiragh Kumar, a former winner on Asian Tour, and Abhijit Chadha shot 71 each to finish right on the line at Tied-35th to also earn a full card.

Austen Truslow of the United States topped the class when he signed off his marathon week with a closing six-under-par 65 to secure his Tour card.

He progressed from the first stage last week to emerge winner this week with a five-day total of 24-under-par 331.

Aadil Bedi trains under Jesse Grewal, who is also the coach of India's top golfer Shubhankar Sharma.   -  AFP

 

Bedi said, “I lost a dear friend (in a road accident) on the first day, back home. It was tough mentally, but I managed to play well and I’m glad that it has all come together.

“I have that believe in myself and that I have the game to earn the card. Now that I’ve earned the card, there’s more purpose in my practice and I’ll be definitely looking forward to the tournaments that I get to play.

“It was difficult to focus at times. When there are long waits between holes, or between rounds at night, I think about my friend. But, it was a good week. I’ve played really solid in all parts of my game.”

While Bedi turned pro this season, Aman Raj turned pro in 2016 and won the Q-School on the domestic Tour in India, but registered his first pro win in September this year in Jaipur.

A close friend of Shubhankar Sharma, he admits to being motivated by Sharma’s achievements in last couple of years.

Chiragh is a former winner of the Asian Tour event at Panasonic Open in 2015 and has four other wins on Indian Tour. Chadha has two titles on the Indian Tour.

Interestingly, three of four Indian players who earned the card on Sunday have played at the Asian Games — Chiragh was in the team that won silver in 2006; Chadha was in the silver winning team in 2010 in Guangzhou; while Bedi featured in 2018 Asiad team.

Bedi, a Class XII student of Vivek High school Chandigarh, who trains with Jesse Grewal -- also the coach of Shubhankar Sharma -- is also backed by Virat Kohli foundation (VKF).

He had 26 birdies during the week and ended at 16-under in in hot and humid conditions.

“I am going to PGTI Q school in 2nd week at Ahmedabad to secure my domestic tour card too. I will plan my tournaments only after my board exam of 12th Grade,” Bedi said.

He further added that he will be going to USA for advance golf training in Psychology and is also practicing Yoga.

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Bedi had represented India as an amateur at the 2018 Asian Games, got an invitation to play at the Asian Development Tour (ADT) last month where he finished tied-12th at the PGM Maybank ADT Championship.

His best pro result came at the Bengaluru Open on the PGTI where he finished third a fortnight ago.

Thailand’s Gunn Charoenkul also completed an unforgettable week at the Lakeview Resort and Golf Club as he carded the lowest score of the day with a 61 to finish in second place.

Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana, a former All India Amateur champion, and China’s Jin Cheng, who won the 2015 Asian Amateurs and played the 2016 Masters, will give up their amateur status after emerging among the top-35 and ties players to earn their Tour cards after five rounds.