Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], April 30 (ANI): Viraj Madappa and Rashid Khan booked the two available berths in the Indian men’s team for the Asian Games 2022 after claiming the top two spots at the Asian Games Selection Trials held here at KGA.
Viraj and Rashid will now join Anirban Lahiri and Shubhankar Sharma in the four-member Indian team bound for the 19th Asiad which is scheduled to be staged in the Chinese city of Hangzhou from September 10 – 25, 2022.
Anirban and Shubhankar had earlier qualified on the basis of the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).
Twenty-four-year-old Viraj Madappa (66-68-71-69-67) rounded off a brilliant week after he signed for a five-under 67 in the fifth and final round, the day’s best score, to finish on top of the leaderboard at a total of 18-under 270 in the 16-man field.
Kolkata-based Madappa, who at age 20 became India’s youngest ever winner on the international stage back in 2018, fired seven birdies and a double-bogey in round five. Viraj, in great driving form through the week, made a great start on Saturday by sinking four birdies on his first five holes.
The four best scores out of five were taken into account.
Viraj said, “I was confident at the start of the week as I was playing well coming into this event and to add to that KGA has also been a second home for me since I’ve played a lot over here in recent years.
“My driving was the best aspect of my game this week. I drove it well on all days and thus created a lot of scoring opportunities for myself. Today, I even put really well making 10 to 15 feet conversions on three occasions. My goal was a five-day total of 20-under even though I fell just short of it.
“It’s a great honour to have the opportunity to represent India as a professional for the first time. I’m super excited and look forward to having the experience of being part of an Indian contingent and staying at the Games Village.”
Thirty-one-year-old Rashid Khan (68-73-67-66-71) shot a solid 71 in the last round to finish second at the qualifying event with a total of 16-under 272. Two-time Asian Tour winner Rashid, who capitalized on a hot putter during the week, made three birdies and two bogeys in round five.
Delhi-based Khan returns to the Asian Games after 12 years as he had earlier represented India at the 2010 edition in Guangzhou while still an amateur. He was part of the Indian team that won the silver medal on that occasion.
Rashid said, “I was struggling with my putting prior to this event. But I was glad to get my putting form back this week. I made a lot of good putts this week and converted most of my opportunities to the greens.
“I had the start that I was looking for in the final round. I then scrambled well and made crucial pars from tough positions towards the end. I was also lucky that my shot didn’t land out of bounds on the last hole, it stopped just short. I made a great chip-putt from there.
“I have great memories of the Asian Games when I went there as an amateur and won a silver medal back in 2010. It’s great to be heading back to the event as a professional this time around.”
Both Madappa and Khan will now be part of an Indian team as professionals for the first time.
Karandeep Kochhar finished third at 14-under 274.
Amateur Avani Prashanth won the women’s qualifying event with a 14-under 274 total. Avani joins Aditi Ashok and Tvesa Malik in the three-member women’s team for the 2022 Asiad.
Round 5 Leading Scores (Men):
270: Viraj Madappa (66-68-71-69-67)
272: Rashid Khan (68-73-67-66-71)
274: Karandeep Kochhar (69-69-69-67-71)
278: Krishnav Nikhil Chopraa (Am) (72-69-71-71-67), Veer Ahlawat (66-73-69-71-72) (ANI)