Looking Back: Yuvraj Singh Sandhu's 2020-21 PGTI Season

Looking Back: Yuvraj Singh Sandhu

Yuvraj Singh Sandhu hailing from Chandigarh is one of the most promising Indian golfers in recent times.
 
The former India no. 1 has played numerous international events during his amateur career like the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, an event he played three times from 2016-2018.

Right after returning from his last Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship event in Singapore, Yuvraj turned pro in December 2018.
 
Before his rookie season started in 2019, Yuvraj played six times on the PGTI Tour (which included one Asian Tour event of Panasonic Open India) while still being an amateur in 2018.
In those 6 PGTI events, Yuvraj had challenged the field of pro golfers by getting the best result of tied fourth in Jaipur Open 2018 with amateur status.
 
During his rookie season, Yuvraj got three top-ten finishes in 2019 with the best result of tied fifth in ICC-RCGC Open Golf Championship. Yuvraj retained his card for the next season (2020-21) by finishing inside the top 60, at 30th position on the 2019 TATA Steel PGTI Rankings.
 
Despite the 2020-21 PGTI season being two years long, Yuvraj played brilliantly on his second season on the PGTI Tour.
 
Yuvraj played 7 events in 2020, from which Yuvraj made a cut in 6 events.
 
However, it was the two successive events of the Players Championship (held in Panchkula, Chandigarh) that awarded him the maximum OWGR points for 2020 because Yuvraj finished 5th in Panchkula, 4th in Chandigarh, and by getting back-to-back top-five finishes Yuvraj won a total of 2.6 OWGR points.
 
After the Players Championship, Yuvraj ended the year by finishing T38 in the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational, T8 in Tata Steel Tour Championship to end 2020 with a world ranking of 983.
 
PGTI continued its 2020 season by staging multiple events in the following year.
 
The first two events of 2021 were played in Gujarat. Yuvraj finished T14 in Gujarat Open Golf Championship 2021, T6 in Glade One Masters 2021.
The third event of the year was Delhi-NCR Open 2021 where Yuvraj missed the cut, his first MC after making seven consecutive cuts from Bengal Open Golf Championship 2020 till the Glade One Masters 2021.
 
After the Delhi-NCR Open, the Tour was stopped for five months because India was hit by the second wave of Covid-19.
 
During the forced break of five months, Yuvraj had come in contact with the virus, he was tested positive for Covid-19 but after recovering from the deadly virus, Yuvraj worked hard on his fitness by hitting the gym regularly to improve his game.



(Photo Credit: Yuvraj Singh Sandhu Instagram Page).

And the results were encouraging because when the PGTI resumed its events from September 2021, Yuvraj finished inside the top fifteen in the first three restarted events of Golconda Masters, Players Championship, J&K Open and it was the Players Championship where Yuvraj accomplished his first top-three finish of the season, a third position in Panchkula Golf Club.

As the season continued, Yuvraj kept on improving his results on the PGTI Tour because in the next three events Yuvraj accomplished three consecutive top-ten finishes in the PGTI MP Cup, Jaipur Open 2021, Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational with the best result of fourth in the PGTI MP Cup.
 
Now, ever since the Tour was restarted in September 2021, Yuvraj had played phenomenal golf by posting five top-ten finishes from six events with the best result of third in Panchkula. Yuvraj made a cut in all six events.



Photo of Yuvraj’s OWGR rank, one week before the PGTI restarted its events from September 2021 (Photo Credit: OWGR).

This all led to an improvement in his world rankings because during these five months (April 2021-August 2021) when Yuvraj didn’t play any professional golf events on the domestic tour, Yuvraj lost a lot on the world rankings, and one week before the tour was restarted on 2nd September 2021, Yuvraj had a world ranking of 1,132. After playing six events from September 2021 to November 2021, Yuvraj had improved his OWGR rank to 776th, in the process he jumped 356 places on the OWGR rankings.
 
With 16 events completed, only four events were left in 2020-21 PGTI season, out of which the PGTI had planned to stage three events in East India - IndianOil Servo Masters Golf (Digboi), ICC-RCGC Open Golf Championship (Kolkata), Tata Steel Tour Championship (Jamshedpur), one in West India - Pune Open Golf Championship (Pune).

The 21st edition of the IndianOil Servo Masters Golf was staged in India’s North-Eastern town of Digboi in Assam.


 
Digboi Golf Links hosted the 2021 IndianOil Sevo Masters Golf.
 
During those four days (17th to 20th November) of the IndianOil Servo Masters Golf, the conditions were near perfect for playing golf with bright sunlight on all four days and zero chances of rainfall. The only downside about the tournament was that the first two days were started late due to heavy fog in the early mornings of Digboi which forced the PGTI to delay tee timings of the morning groups.
 
Yuvraj took advantage of the conditions by getting his opening two-round scores in the sixty’s (66, 68) to become the sole leader of the tournament after 36-holes, with a two-round total of ten under 134.
 
On the second last day of the event, Yuvraj added five strokes to his scorecard by scoring 67 in round three.
Yuvraj at -15, went to the final round with a two-stroke lead over the rest of the field. The 24-year-old had a shot for victory going into the Sunday round (20th November).



Yuvraj Singh Sandhu during the final round of IndianOil Servo Masters Golf.

On the final day of the IndianOil Servo Masters Golf, Yuvraj put on a final round show for the ages, Yuvraj scored a superb 64 in his fourth-round where he shot five birdies, one eagle in his back nine to win the IndianOil Servo Masters Golf by a gigantic margin of six-strokes.


2021 IndianOil Servo Masters Golf Champion - Yuvraj Singh Sandhu.

Yuvraj with an aggregate score of 265, accomplished his maiden victory on the PGTI Tour.
A first-ever win on the professional circuit awarded Yuvraj the maximum OWGR points (5) from a single event which benefited Yuvraj to make massive grounds on the world rankings because after winning the IndianOil Servo Masters Golf, Yuvraj jumped 234 places on the OWGR rankings to 542nd in the world.
 
Yuvraj’s world ranking kept on improving after that event in Digboi because Yuvraj got splendid results in the next two events of ICC-RCGC Open Golf Championship 2021, Pune Open Golf Championship 2021. Yuvraj finished T5 in Kolkata, T8 in Pune, due to which Yuvraj leaped 32 places to an OWGR rank of 510th.

The Pune Open Golf Championship was the final event of 2021, thus the regular season came to an end on 4th December 2021.
 
The top 60 players on the Tata Steel PGTI Rankings are allowed to play in the year-end event of the Tata Steel Tour Championship, Yuvraj at fourth position on the Tata Steel PGTI rankings effortlessly made it to his third Tour Championship.
 
Yuvraj scored 69, 76, 71, 71 in four days for an overall score of one under 287.
 
Yuvraj completed the year-end event with a final rank of T44.

Even though 44th position was his highest finish of the 2020-21 PGTI season still, there was something positive about Yuvraj’s performance in Jamshedpur because the 2021 Tata Steel Tour Championship was the third time Yuvraj was playing in the event, before 2021, Yuvraj had missed the cut in 2018 followed by a T51 finish in 2019. Hence, Yuvraj’s T44 finish was his best-ever result in the Tata Steel Tour Championship.

Yuvraj ended the 2020-21 PGTI season with a final Order of Merit rank of 6th.



(Photo Credit: PGTI).
 
During the 2020-21 PGTI season, Yuvraj had two distinctions, first of getting the most top-ten finishes by any player on the tour. Yuvraj got 12 top-ten finishes in the 2020-21 season.


(Photo Credit: PGTI).

Another record was of most cuts made in a single season. A record Yuvraj shared with Manu Gandas, both achieved 18 cuts in the 2020-21 PGTI Season.


(Photo Credit: PGTI).
 

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By Dhruv Trivedi

January 04, 2022 in Golf

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