New Delhi, 21-03-2022

Khalin and Viraj, two winners on two different DGC layouts, ready for The DGC Open

Khalin Joshi and Viraj Madappa are among the most promising young golfers in India. They have an Asian Tour win each and multiple wins at home. But in the field which has assembled for The DGC Open presented by Mastercard, they have a special place.

Khalin won the last Asian Tour event, the Panasonic Open, at the Delhi Golf Club in 2018, before the club shut the doors to get a renovation of the Lodhi Course done.

When the renovation was done and the first professional event was staged on the re-done Gary Player designed course, Viraj Madappa won the Tata Steel MP Cup 2021, presented by DGC and Just in Time Sports Foundation, on the PGTI Tour.

Both love the DGC. But then most Indian players love the storied venue, regardless of their success rate here. The sheer atmosphere is hard to beat.

“I have been playing here since my junior days and I love the course. It is a great challenge and I have had some success and good moments, including the Asian Tour win. I had played so many times before it was re-done and I always felt you needed to think and plan all the time,” says Joshi. “Now with shapes of the greens having been changed and lot of run-off and collection areas, the challenge is stiffer. You can’t miss on the wrong side and if you do, it is going to be tough. So you need to think before each shot.”

Madappa edged out Joshi by one shot to take the title at the MP Cup in October 2021. His first pro win was an Asian Tour event - the Take Solutions Masters in Bengaluru in 2018, has since then been making good strides, but his expectations are way more.

On his game, Madappa laughed and said, “I am consistently average.” Meaning he is making cuts alright, but not producing the finishes he can or wants to. “On the Asian Tour (in 2022) I have made all five cuts, but it needs to get better.” His best has been T-21, certainly way below his potential.

As for the domestic Tour, he had a ton of Top-10s, including a win at MP Cup at DGC in October. Ahead of The DGC Open, he lost a tight battle last week to Yuvraj Sandhu, another rising star, by one shot when Sandhu holed a 20-footer on 72nd to win outright.

On the new DGC course, Madappa said, “The DGC is a great course. From tee to greens it is the same, but a lot else has changed. The bunkers have been moved a little, the greens are re-shaped and there are some fantastic slopes and a lot of collection areas one should look out for. All in all, it is a great challenge. The renovation has been great. A. very good job.”

How did he handle the pandemic? “That was something out of our control. I used the time in the first wave to think and work on my game. Then when we got no events on Asian Tour, it did get frustrating but I hung in and put more work in.”

He added, “I have now been a pro for five years. So, it is more frustrating when you know where you and you also know how good you could be or where you could be.  That’s the gap I want to bridge.”

Could this be the week one he takes one more step to bridging it?

When Joshi won in 2018 at the DGC, he probably started thinking of the next level. And why not, he was playing great and he was 24 and as he said, “many new doors had opened for him.”

Yet, it did not quite happen like that. There was just one Top-10 in the whole of 2019 and worse he missed cut in 14 of the starts.

Like many others, Joshi used the pause to work on his game and the mental struggles he seemed to be having on the course. The change showed in 2020, which was still a truncated season for all. Yet in 10 starts Joshi had five Top-10s including a third in the season-ending Tour Championship. Things were beginning to turn around.

“I used the time to work on my game and also to work out what was wrong on and off the course,” he says. He began working with Laurence Brotheridge and the results, too, showed the improvement.

Three starts at the beginning of 2021 before the second wave saw him finish 11th in Gujarat Open and T-8 in Glade One and T-9 in NCR Open. Another hiatus came in due to the pandemic. But by now Khalin had found his mojo. The work on the game and the mind continued.

When the Tour re-started in September 2021, Joshi had four Top-10s in five starts including a win in Jaipur. However, there was some more frustration in 2022 at the Asian Tour events. He missed the cut in four successive starts, but after at the Tata Steel PGTI in Kolkata, he was T-9, showing he is ready for DGC Open presented by Mastercard, at a course he loves in both old and new avataars.  “The DGC gets me excited, and I am looking forward to the week,” signs off Joshi.

Pictures: Asian Tour

About PGTI:

Formed in 2006, Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) is the recognised official body of professional golf in India. PGTI's objective is to promote professional golf in the country, as well as to give players an opportunity to be involved in the decision making on all aspects of the game. Headed by Mr. Srinivasan H R (President), PGTI's governing body comprises leading Indian golf professionals. PGTI currently has over 300 members.

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