When the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) resumed in November last after Lockdown 1, Veer Ahlawat began the Players Championship at the Panchkula Golf Club on a shaky note. It was a 75, but understandable given the months of inaction and lack of competitive golf. But as the tournament progressed, the opening round seemed like an aberration as Veer folowed it up with rounds of 65, 72, 66 for a top-6 finish.
That started a trend of some sharp putting and the next week was another Players Championship at the Chandigarh Golf Club. Veer again began on a sharp note by not leaving himself putts beyond 10 feet on Day 1. With an opening 66, Veer collected a top-4 and a top-5 the ensuing week at the big-ticket Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational for three successive weeks of solid golf.
The results were not surprising as that’s what he had practiced non-stop at home in the initial months of Lockdown 1. The 12×7 foot carpet in the living room became the training turf, and along with a four-foot scale for alignment and tee, Veer set himself up well.
The drill began with the shorter putts at 5 feet and he gradually moved the tee to 8, 10 and 12 feet. In case there was apprehension that it would be difficult to adjust to the green speed once restrictions were lifted was allayed by those strong results.
“The transition from the carpet to the green was almost seamless,” said Veer.
Couple this with the work put into fitness during stoppage, which has led to greater stability during ball striking, there is an air of confidence. It seemed that Veer looked set to celebrate the first anniversary of his breakthrough win on PGTI with another victory.
The second win did not happen and Veer’s wait got longer but he came close again as the hot putter got him a top-3 at the Glade One Masters this February.
Photo courtesy: Veer Ahlawat