How abortive US college stint shaped Viraj Madappa’s Asian Tour win

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Viraj Madappa celebrates with his caddie after breaking through on the Asian Tour with the win at the 2018 Take Solutions Masters in Bangalore.
Viraj Madappa celebrates with his caddie after breaking through on the Asian Tour with the win at the 2018 Take Solutions Masters in Bangalore.

Viraj Madappa’s stint at the Texas A&M University lasted just four months but in the short time the transition from “leading a sheltered existence in Kolkata to be in the US where there are no filters,” helped Viraj get organised off the golf course and become a better athlete.

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Even though he believes one week does not “determine life or golf”, the 2018 Take Solutions Masters and breaking through on the Asian Tour stays special.

An elated Viraj surrounded by a group of excited children at the Karnataka Golf Association after the win.
An elated Viraj surrounded by a group of excited children at the Karnataka Golf Association after the win.

“I was excited to start the week at KGA (Karnataka Golf Association). Anytime I get to play in front of a home crowd, especially in Bangalore or Kolkata, the feeling is different. I felt great about my game and had played quite flawless through the week. The standout was on the greens, I was red hot with the putter. Riding the energy and support from the crowd I stayed patient and aggressive down the stretch and closed out the most memorable week in my golfing career so far. The icing on the cake was getting to share the moment with my mom, my (then) coach Tarun Sardesai and all the kids in the academy with whom I practiced over the last few years.

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The victory that week opened many doors. I had an Asian Tour card for the following year and was guaranteed a spot into all the co-sanctioned events up to the end of the 2019 season. This made a huge difference as I would be playing for a much larger prize purse and more OWGR points in comparison to some of my fellow competitors who had made it out of Q School. More importantly, it showed that I was ready to face the big boys. I had proved to myself during my junior and amateur days that I was good, but I was yet to put myself in the spotlight on professional tours. To this day, I fall back on the memory of the shots I hit down the stretch to win my maiden professional tournament.”

Pix credit: Viraj Madappa

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