Lakshya Raj Poonia: New kid on the block

Starting as a rookie, Lakshya Raj Poonia, son of Olympian Krishna Poonia, has been able to pick up the sport quickly and hopes to improve his game.

Lakshya Raj Poonia.   -  Rohit Jain Paras

Age: 16

Education: Standard XII

From: Jaipur

Mentor: Manny Zerman

Favourite player: Justin Thomas

Aim: To study abroad and take up golf as a career. The ultimate target is to break into the big league.

Beginning: Son of Olympian discus thrower, Krishna Poonia, and noted athletics coach, Virender Poonia, Lakshya Raj was introduced to the game by his father a few years ago. Even though he has participated in athletics in various inter-school events, he fell in love with golf. A year and a half back, Lakshya Raj participated in the Albert Ross golf competition at the Jaypee Greens course in Greater Noida but that wasn’t a good start. Lakshya, a XII standard student at the St Xavier's Secondary School in Jaipur, benefited from his training stint in Florida and did well in his first international outing at the South Florida PGA Junior Prep Tour.

Strengths: As a youngster, Lakshya Raj believes that his strength lies in the iron shots and putting. He feels that playing the short game actually helps him get an edge over the opponents.

Weaknesses: The long game requires some improvement. The young golfer believes that he needs to work on his driver and woods. A new kid on the block, Lakshya Raj hopes that a bit more experience will help him get better with his long game. Once that area is addressed, he believes things will fall in place.

Lakshya Raj with his parents Krishna and Virender Poonia.

 

Focus Area: With time, the focus will be on overall improvement. He recently participated in the sixth Amateur Feeder Tour in Gurgaon, and played 10-over 84 and 85 on the long course. He feels that once he gets a hang of things in various courses, things should be easy.

Growth: The last few years have been quite good for the youngster. Starting as a rookie, he has been able to pick up the sport quickly and hopes to improve his game.

Achievements: He finished runner-up in the boys (13-18) category of the Junior Prep Tour event 6.

He scored 10-over 82 at the 72 par to take up the tied second spot with Alejandro Arteta. He came second in the junior category of the Miami Shores Country Club championships in Florida earlier this year.

What they say:

Krishna Poonia (mother, Olympian): The signs are good. He has improved a lot in the last one and a half year. I was with him in the US last year and interacted with his coaches, who felt that he has potential and is always willing to learn. This year, he has been able to perform better. I don’t want to put him under pressure. As an athlete, I know what it takes to motivate a youngster. We just hope he plays his natural game and improves gradually.

Manny Zerman (mentor):Lakshya has improved as a golfer since I have known him. The future is going to be a matter of how much hard work he puts in. He has a bright future ahead of him. I look forward to his continued progress.