Home favourite Shiv Kapur is expecting a tough test on his Challenge Tour debut at this week’s Gujarat Kensville Challenge.
Kapur, the son of a stockbroker from New Delhi, believes only his best will be good enough to keep the title in Indian hands, following the triumph of Gaganjeet Bhullar 12 months ago.
Kapur’s only top ten finish of an inconsistent 2011 campaign on The European Tour came on home soil, at the Avantha Masters.
But it was not enough to prevent him from losing the card he had held since joining The European Tour as an Affiliate Member in 2006 – hence his decision to make his Challenge Tour bow this week.
If Kapur felt that dropping back to the developmental Tour would prove an easier ride, however, he swiftly changed his mind after playing a practice round at Kensville Golf and Country Club, which is situated on the outskirts of the Gujarati city of Ahmedabad and which provided the toughest test on the Challenge Tour last year.
He said: “The two nines here play very differently. The back nine requires a lot more strategy, and makes you think a lot. You need to use more irons from the tee, and be precise and careful. On the front nine, which is more wide open, you can use your driver much more. So the two halves of the course present different challenges, which makes it very interesting to play.
“The greens are also fast, running at a speed of about 10 or 10.5 on the ‘stimpmeter’. This course is not soft and like a dartboard, where the ball stops on landing, so you have to be very careful with your shot-making.
“Overall it is a great course, and I don’t see it to be a very low-scoring one. The winning score could be 12 under or so. We haven’t had any wind so far, but if it does pick up the scoring could become much tougher.”
Along with European Tour champion Jeev Milkha Singh, who co-designed the 7,224, par 72 parkland course at Kensville Golf and Country Club, Kapur has helped to pave the way for and inspire the likes of Bhullar, who won last year’s inaugural event by a single stroke from England’s Matt Ford.
Kapur believes that, without this week’s event and the Avantha Masters, Indian golfers would not have achieved the same levels of success.
He said: “It is a good field and it is good for Indians to have such events in India, because it gives our players a great chance to test themselves against international players. The only way to improve your game is by playing with players who are better and more experienced than you, so hopefully the Indian guys here this week will take a lot from the tournament.”