Rookie Gunvir at home in the pro world

Despite playing on the challenging CIAL Golf Club for the first time and with the morning’s rain making things doubly difficult, Gunvir had a very impressive start and was joint sixth after the second day’s action on Thursday.

Delhi golfer Gunvir Rana, who was making his pro debut, had an impressive run in the CIAL Cochin Masters, on a course which is new to him.   -  Stan Rayan

He was not exactly flying high on the amateur golf circuit the last couple of years but when he made the plunge and turned pro this year, Gunvir Rana realised that he was not very far from the big boys.

“I wasn’t a great amateur, my best rank was something like 24 there so I thought may be I should give the pro circuit a shot,” said the 21-year-old from Delhi who made his professional debut at the PGTI’s ongoing CIAL Cochin Masters at Nedumbassery.

Surprisingly, despite playing on the challenging CIAL Golf Club for the first time and with the morning’s rain making things doubly difficult, he had a very impressive start and was joint sixth after the second day’s action on Thursday.

“After the first round, I was quite comfortable…I shot par. On the second day, I thought if I could score par, I could shoot under par as well. And I shot under par and sort of settled down,” said the youngster who plays at the Delhi Golf Club under the guidance of coach Ajay Gupta.

“And this is my first (pro) tournament, I made the cut here. I wasn’t sure whether I would make it…I’m pretty happy with it.”

Amateur golf was a very joyful world for Gunvir but despite missing his gang of friends, the discussions on the game and all the leg-pulling, he relishes the serious stuff on the pro tour.

“You feel like everyone is shooting under par over here. When I came here, I saw this big change, they are all true professionals and your game keeps changing too. You look to raise the bar too,” said the young man a BA (Economics and English) graduate from New Delhi’s Venkateswara College.

“I know that I’m there with all these players …and after playing all these years, I know I have to keep the ball in play, that’s it and that’s the way to play.

“But after the rounds here, I don’t see anybody discussing the game, once the pros leave the course, they shut golf out of their mind.”

Like his dad, who was a decent golfer and cricketer at Jalandhar where they come from, Gunvir was good at both. But it was golf that won him over.

“I was a very sporty type, I used to play all games. I played a lot of cricket, when I was 13 or 14 because my dad was a cricketer too and played at the State-level. But I just chose golf because I enjoy this game more.”

Gunvir, who slipped to the 25th spot after the third day, has now laid out his short-term and long-term goals.

“The short term goal is to be in the top 40 and to try to finish within the top 20 or 25 by the end of the year. I think I’m capable of doing that,” said the young man who is inspired by Tiger Woods and the current World No. 1 Jordan Spieth.

“I plan to play the PGTI for a couple of years and if my game is there, I plan to play the Asian Tour Qualifying. I’ll see how I do over there and then decide.”