02 May, 2018: A youthful collection of promising golfers will be on their way to Indonesia very soon. The Indian Golf Union selected Sifat Sagoo, Ridhima Dilawari and Diksha Dagar to the girls team. Kshitij Naved Kaul, the amateur that turned heads at the recent Hero Indian Open, Aadil Bedi and Harimohan Singh were the three boys chosen to represent India in the Asian Games. Rayhan Thomas was afforded a spot too on the strength of his world ranking and impressive performances on the international circuit.
The seven young golfers was chosen through a marathon six round test on two of the best courses in the national capital region. The first two rounds were played at the ITC Classic Golf Resort and the next four were held on the much acclaimed Jaypee Greens.
Sifat Sagoo, the youngest qualifier among girls, shared the top spot with Ridhima Dilawari. Both totaled 351 for their best five rounds. Diksha Dagar, who was favoured to top, ended third, four shots behind Sifat and Ridhima.
Sifat Sagoo turned in one of the most impressive performances of the week, staying under par in four of the six rounds. She also had an even par round, which meant that her five best scores were all par or better.
Leaving out a 74 on the second day, her impressive set of cards included scores of 71-69-72-68-71.
Ridhima Dilawari tied at the top with Sifat, with her five best scores reading 71-73-67-68-72 (leaving out a 73) for a total of 351.
Diksha Dagar started the week as one of the hot favourites. In the end, she will be relieved to have made the team, four off the pace at the top. Diksha’s 355 included efforts of 71-74-72-70-68.
Among the boys, Khsitij took the top honours with a total of 354. The young man shot a stunning 64 in the second round at the ITC Classic.
Aadil Bedi (356) was second, at his impressive best in the final round at the Jaypee Greens. The boy from Chandigarh showed why he is regarded highly with a brilliant 67 under the heat of these selection trials.
Harimohan Singh also saved his best to the end, shooting 69 and 70 in the final two rounds to seal his spot.
India has always been a force to reckon with in the Asian Games, since the introduction of golf in the Delhi games in 1982.
Lakshman Singh and Rajiv Mohta set the tone with a rich haul of three medals in the Appu edition. They won gold and silver respectively in the individual event and brought home the team gold to ice the cake.
The Panasonic Swing champion Shiv Kapur added to the Indian story at the games with an individual gold in 2002.
There have been two more silver medals added to the kitty since then. Anirban Lahiri, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Chiragh Kumar and Joseph Chakola combined for the team silver in 2006. Rashid Khan, Rahul Bajaj, Abhinav Lohan and Abhijit Chadha emulated them in 2010.
The seven young golfers chosen to represent India in the Asian Games this August will have an opportunity to collect more metal and establish India’s growing prominence as a power to reckon with on the international stages of golf.