Udayan to look beyond shores after chastening Olympic debut

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Udayan Mane finished 56th at the men's Olympic golf competition in Tokyo and terms it a learning experience. Photo: PGTI
Udayan Mane finished 56th at the men's Olympic golf competition in Tokyo and terms it a learning experience. Photo: PGTI

With rounds of 76, 69, 70, 72 and a 56th finish in a field of 60, Udayan Mane is aware of the areas that need a serious relook after his maiden Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

The biggest takeaway after competing with the cream of world golf is building on confidence. Udayan attributed the lack of competitive golf since March to feeling intimidated on the golf course even though the Kasumigaseki Country Club was laid in a way “that was right up my alley and suited my style of play”.

Explaining what he meant by getting intimated, he said, “I haven’t played competitions in a while and it takes time to adjust and that too at this level. I need to build myself in a way that the people, golf course, nothing shakes me off,” said Udayan.

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Prior to his qualification for Tokyo, Udayan had tried for playing opportunities across global Tours, but made little headway given India’s bruising battle with the second wave of the pandemic and the country being listed as a ‘no-fly zone’ by most nations.

Playing competitive golf on bigger Tours and being pitted with the best is the only way to grow in confidence and as a player, and Udayan has examples in Anirban Lahiri, his teammate who finished T42, Rahil Gangjee, Shubhankar Sharma and Gaganjeet Bhullar. ” All of them are playing overseas and that’s where my path leads.”

There is a lot more to cherish from this chastening debut on the world’s biggest sport platform. “Staying in the Games Village was an experience and to watch the top athletes so focussed in their task of achieving glory. After that’s achieved, you can do anything.” And of course, despite the disappointment, the support of an appreciative Japanese crowd.

Motivated to feature Paris in 2024, the focus will be on the short game, getting sharper around the greens. The putting’s good but watching guys make tough up and downs have brought some realisation to the man who has had a recent prolific run at home on the Professional Golf Tour of India.

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