Shiv Kapur (Getty Images)
Shiv Kapur is hoping to feed off his incredible Open Championship experience when he competes in this week’s M2M Russian Open at Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club.
The Indian came through local qualifying at Dunbar to earn his spot at Muirfield and proceeded to climb to the top of the leaderboard on Thursday evening as he raced to six under par on the fast-running links.
Late dropped shots saw him finish the opening day tied for fourth, and he ended the week tied for 73rd.
"Last week was an amazing experience for me, even though it was only the first round and was very brief, to lead the greatest tournament in the world, the one I watched as a kid growing up in India, was very special,” said Kapur, who won his first Challenge Tour title on home soil earlier this year.
"The Open is the tournament that people in India watch and the one that kids like me would have thought 'one day I want to get my name up on that famous yellow leaderboard'. So to do that and to achieve that dream, even though it was so brief, was one of the greatest feelings you can have.
"I was playing so well on Thursday and when I saw my name on that leaderboard I just turned to my caddie and said 'look at that, we are actually up there!' I enjoyed every second of it. You know, to be able to, albeit momentarily, steal a little bit of the limelight and be the featured group on TV on that Thursday afternoon was pretty cool.
"I played some great golf and as I said, seeing my name on the top of that yellow leaderboard was a dream come true. Obviously I would have liked it to last a little bit longer, but if I had finished 20th in the tournament by just playing steady golf, I probably wouldn't have had as many eyeballs on me as I did on that Thursday when the world was watching. It was a very cool experience.”
While the 31 year old revels in what was only his second appearance at a Major Championship, he is well aware that there is a job to be done this week as Russia returns to The European Tour International Schedule.
And one of Kapur’s first tasks will be to adjust from the lightning-quick links of Scotland to a course that presents a very different sort of challenge.
"It is back to reality in a few ways this week,” he added. "We are playing a different kind of golf this week. Last week was very bouncy and hard and required a lot imagination and changing strategies on every hole almost.
"This week we are back to the kind of golf where you will hit a lot of drivers and try to give yourself a good yardage to then fire at some pins. There has been a lot of rain here so there will be a lot of adjustment required this week and the last couple of days I have just been trying to get back into the habit of throwing the ball in the air.
"Last week was about keeping it on the ground and picking your landing spot and hoping to run the ball to the hole, whereas this week is more target golf so there will be a big adjustment for me. But I took a lot of confidence and belief from being able to compete with the best in the world last week and now I just have to try and convert that into becoming more consistent and being able to do it a lot more often.
"I am looking forward to the challenge this week though and I have to say this golf course looks amazing and has some of the best green complexes I have ever seen. They are very narrow and small and you have to hit a lot of good iron shots to make a score here."