Jyoti Randhawa – A Trailblazer

Jyoti Randhawa – A Trailblazer

Indian defence forces have helped grooming many sports personalities. Indian golf pioneer, Jyoti Randhawa, too was fortunate enough to have his father- a decorated senior officer to cultivate interest in golf since very early age.
 
Jyoti's father Brigadier R S Randhawa used to take Jyoti on the golf courses which ignited a passion in Jyoti for golf.
“I started in 1986, I was fourteen years old, my father used to play golf in the army, I used to go around with him, that’s how I started.”
 
During his early years, Jyoti played exceptionally well by winning a couple of tournaments.
“I had good successful career all along, as a sub-junior I won the All-India Sub-Junior Championship then, as an amateur, I won the All-India Amateur Championship so, there has been a gradual steady rise.”
 
Jyoti's first success in professional golf came at home in 1998 at the Hero Honda Masters. In the following year Jyoti successfully defended his title, by winning the 1999 Hero Honda Masters.
 
After getting back-to-back Asian Tour titles in 1998, 1999, that gave a tremendous confidence to Jyoti because in 2000, Jyoti won three times on the domestic tour (PGA of India) and won the national championship (Wills Indian Open) for the first time in his career. Along with the Indian Open, Jyoti also won the Singapore Open on the same year.
 
However, in 2001 the adventure enthusiast Jyoti, met with an accident, injuring his collar bone. Injury pushed Jyoti out of the game for a couple of months but later in the following year, he made a strong comeback and won the Asian Order of Merit title in 2002 and also became the first Indian to win the Oom title in Asian PGA Tour.
“I did have a motorcycle accident in 2001, when I came back won the Asian Order of Merit, that was a good comeback.”
 
One intriguing fact about Jyoti's 2002 OoM title was that he didn’t win a single event that year but still he was declared the title winner and made history by becoming the first Indian to do so.
“I guess because I was very consistent, I had a lot of top ten finishes, top five finishes didn’t win that year but I won the Asian Order of Merit.”
 
In 2003, Jyoti played his first full season on the Japan Golf Tour, in his 10th event of his rookie season, Jyoti won his first-ever Japan Golf Tour title at the Suntory Open. And Jyoti became the first Indian to win in Japan.
“That was amazing, it was the first time an Indian had done it, it was a tough tour that time for us, we were not good as players than but it was a great experience, I cherish that forever.”
 
The two highlights for Jyoti that week in Chiba, Japan was finishing ten strokes ahead of the legendary Phil Mickelson who at that, had already won 21-times on the PGA Tour.
The second was, Jyoti being awarded 1000 bottles of Beer by the tournament sponsor Suntory.
 
During an exclusive chat with DKT Sports, Jyoti revealed what he did with those 1000 beer bottles.
“I gave all those bottles to my physio, then to the staff, to some players, I never drank and gave it my caddy. My caddy used to drink, Bunty so, I just gave all of it.”
 
Since 2003 onwards Jyoti’s career sky rocketed as the former Asia No. one golfer won four more titles on the Asian Tour. From 1998-2009 Jyoti won eight times on the Asian Tour.
 
Apart from winning on the Asian Tour, the domestic tour, one major international tour title- European Tour has still continued to elude Jyoti.

When asked Jyoti a win on the European Tour he said “Yes, I do think about it, I have lot of second finishes, I never won there, that is something that I will remember and I will regret it yes.”
 
This week in India’s eastern state of Jharkhand, Jyoti told DKT Sports that he is now looking for a comeback as his last victory on the continental tour (Asian Tour) came 12 years ago in 2009 (Singha Thailand Open), last victory on the domestic tour came 9 years ago in 2012 (PGTI Players Championship).
“Now, I am playing and practicing, waiting for a comeback so let’s see.”
 
Jyoti who turns 50 in May 2022, told DKT Sports on his plans for next year,
“I think I will be going for the Senior US Tour Qualifying because I will be 50 next year, I will do that and also play on the Asian Tour and of course I will keep playing on the Indian Tour also.”

 

By Dhruv Trivedi

Connect to us: dhruv@dktsports.com



December 18, 2021 - By Dhruv Trivedi

Arjun Atwal’s first professional victory – 1999 Wills Indian Open

Arjun Atwal’s first professional victory – 1999 Wills Indian Open

Ali Sher was the first Indian to win the Indian Open in 1991 and he won it again in 1993 and after that no Indian won the national championship for next 5 years until Firoz Ali won the Classic Indian Open in 1998.
 
1999 was the fifth season of the Asian Golf Tour and the second consecutive season of Indian Open being part of the Asian Golf Tour or the Omega Tour. Before the event two things had happened, first Wills came back to support the national championship (previously Wills sponsored the event from 1989 to 1991) and the second thing was that 1999 was the third consecutive year of Royal Calcutta Golf Club hosting the Indian Open previously, Delhi Golf Club had hosted the national championship three times in row (1971-1973).
 
The third event of 1999 Asian Tour season was Wills Indian Open and this particular edition had one of the strongest Indian line-ups like the defending champion Firoz Ali, Jyoti Randhawa, Basad Ali, Chini Ali, Jeev Milkha Singh, Indrajit Bhalotia, SSP Chawrasia and Arjun Atwal.
 
Arjun Atwal scored 72, 68, 66, 70 to win the 1999 Wills Indian Open at 12 under 276 and his first Asian Tour victory at age 26 and after the win India became the fourth nation to win the Indian Open consecutive times, previously Japan, New Zealand and USA had achieved the feat.
 
The 1999 Wills Indian Open will always be a special victory for Arjun Atwal as that win gave him a lot of confidence and Atwal would go on to play in the PGA Tour and win 11 international events, including 2010 PGA Tour victory in Wyndham Championship i.e., the first and only Indian to win in America’s PGA Tour.
 
And today 14th March, 2021 marks the 22nd anniversary of Arjun Atwal’s 1999 Wills Indian Open victory at Royal Calcutta Golf Club.


[COVER PHOTO CREDIT: ASIAN TOUR]
 

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March 14, 2021 - By Dhruv Trivedi

Champions for a Cause - Charity Golf Match gets a nerve ending finish at Delhi Golf Club

Champions for a Cause - Charity Golf Match gets a nerve ending finish at Delhi Golf Club

Four athletes from two sports (Cricket and Golf) came together to play an 18-hole exhibition golf match at DGC with a noble cause of raising funds for the frontline warriors of COVID-19.

Four players were divided into two teams for a charity golf match. Team 1 consisted of Kapil Dev and Gaganjeet Bhullar and while Team 2 had Murali Kartik and Shubhankar Sharma.
Now, team one led from start after both players of team two got bogey in the first hole for +1 while, team one was the opening leader by scoring an even-par and after the end of first nine, team two were leading by one stroke at -2 and team 2 was behind at -1. And the best score of the first nine was Sharma’s 36.

Both teams started back nine with a birdie, Sharma scored a birdie for his team and team one’s Bhullar missed the birdie and got an even-par so, his teammate Dev took the charge by scoring his first birdie of the tournament. For the next two holes, both teams were unable to achieve an under-par score as team 1 remained at -2 and team 2 at -3. In hole 13, team two missed the birdie and team one took the advantage as both Dev and Bhullar got birdies to move -3 and make it all square. In the fifth hole of back nine, team 1 came back to the lead after team one’s Bhullar got a birdie in par-5 14th. Scores remained unchanged in hole 15 because both teams got even-par scores.
Now, team two’s Kartik and Sharma were really struggling to get a single birdie in second nine and finally after six holes, team two got their second birdie of back nine through Kartik in hole 16 and this again tied the score at -4.
 
Last two-hole drama:
As we move towards the end, team two’s Kartik provided a great start by getting a birdie on hole 17th to move -5 and have a one-stroke lead over team one’s Dev and Bhullar. It was now or never for team 1 and boy they delivered as both Dev and Bhullar got birdies on par-5 18th to tie the score at -5 and now, the improbable happened, as both players of team 2, missed birdies in the last hole, where Sharma and Kartik got an even-par and bogey respectively.

The amazing pair of Kapil Dev and Gaganjeet Bhullar fought till the end and saved the match for a worthy draw. The legendary Kapil Dev was so focused in his last nine that, he not only got three birdies in it but also improved from his first nine score of 39 to back nine’s 37.
On the other side, team 2 had an exceptional start where they got an outright lead of one stroke in the first nine but in the second nine, fans didn’t saw the same intensity between Murali Kartik and Shubhankar Sharma and the pair had to settle for a draw.

The Champions for a Cause – Charity Golf Match was played on 11th July at Delhi Golf Club.

[COVER PHOTO CREDIT: RN SPORTS MARKETING]


Connect to Us: dhruv@dktsports.com



July 11, 2020 - By Dhruv Trivedi

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