Golf can be a cruel game at times. Ask Shiv Kapur and he will tell you why.
The Indian golfer fell agonizingly short of becoming the first-ever repeat winner of the $400,000 Panasonic Open India, and that too at the very last hole.
He shook hands with a smile, but surely beneath it, you could see his heartbreak. This one will stick out like a sore thumb.
Kapur came to the final hole with a one-stroke advantage, but all he did was double-bogey the 18th to finish with 70 at 12-under. In fact, he ended up tumbling to a tied-second place with fellow Indian S Chikkarangappa.
However, whatever way you look at it, you can not simply take away the achievement of Joohyung Kim, who shot seven-under 65 to reach 13-under. The chubby-faced young lad, who adores Tiger Woods and loved Chicken curry during his stay in India, sealed his maiden Asian Tour win and became the second-youngest Asian Tour winner in the process.
“I am just going with the trajectory”, said the youngster, who dreams of playing in big European stages in the future. He smiles and describes his victory as “surreal”.
Kim shot seven birdies in the first 10 holes and then parred the remaining eighth to finish at 65 in windy conditions. The Korean is already a star in the making. He earned his Asian Tour card for the remainder of the 2019 season after claiming three wins on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) this year.
He said after the match: “I’m really speechless. It has been a dream of mine to play on the Asian Tour ever since I was young. And it’s really wonderful to come here, be in contention and win. I cannot describe the feeling now. I’m still trying to learn every single step of the way.
“Last week, I was one off the lead with two holes to play. But it didn’t quite work out the way I wanted then. So, going into today, I just tried to give myself as many chances as I could.
“I did that on the front-nine but I kind of struggled in my back-nine, knowing I was in contention. It was really windy today and I scrambled quite well. It was not easy to shoot a 65 under these conditions. But I managed to do it and now, I’m a winner!”
For once Kim thought he had almost lost the grip. That was in the 16th hole, and the game could have swung either way but a chip in for a par kept him in the hunt, and the rest is history.
The 17-year-old admitted after the game that it was probably the shot that earned him his maiden win in India. The way the drama unfolded in the end, will forever be etched in his memory.
He added: “This is my first time in India, and this is my first time Asian Tour win. Wherever I win in the future, this will always be my personal favourite. This is very special to me.”
Jyoti Randhawa was 2-under 214 for a share of 44th place while fellow Tour senior Jeev Milkha Singh was further shot back on 215 and tied in 50th place.