A resurgent Shiv Kapur, winner of three titles on the Asian Tour last year, is planning an aggressive approach at the demanding DLF Golf & Country Club to add the most desired title on his CV – the Hero Indian Open.
The 36-year-old Delhi golfer, now ranked 192nd in the world, broke his title drought on Indian soil by winning the Panasonic Open at Delhi Golf Club last year, and he is hoping to be back on the podium this Sunday.
“To me, this is the most important tournament outside the majors. Winning one’s own national Open is the highlight of anyone’s career. And, to be able to do it at a city where I grew up, with a title sponsor and golf club that has supported me in my career, will be very special,” said Kapur, who is sponsored by Hero.
“Winning in India last year and getting the monkey off my back is nice. Now, I can free-wheel a bit more rather than having this pressure of not having won a tournament for a long time.”
The golf course, which turned out to be the toughest on the European Tour during the entire 2017 season, has been given more teeth this year with tees being pushed back on the 10th, 15th, 16th and 17th holes, but Kapur felt it will make a few hole play easier.
“It’s a tough golf course here, but it’s not unfair,” said Kapur.
“Some of the changes have actually made it easier when it comes to decision-making. For instance, at the 15th, this year, we won’t be able to aim for the green. We will all be laying up at the same spot. Similarly, at the 17th, lengthening means you can’t aim to hit your ball to the other side of the fairway. Lengthening a golf course doesn’t always make it harder.
“I’m going to play more attacking this year, compared to last year. You tend to be defensive when you think that it is a tough golf course. If you attack the golf course, you may get a few bogeys, but you may get some birdies as well. If you play defensively, you hit a bunch of pars and if a big number hits you, it will be hard to recover.”
Kapur was also full of praise for Shubhankar Sharma, who leads the Order of Merit on both Asian and European Tours with two wins and a fantastic tied 10th finish last week in the WGC-Mexico Championship.
“The way Shubhankar handles himself, even when things aren’t going his way, is well beyond his years. His game is very well rounded and he has the temperament to back it up,” Kapur added. “His 62 in Malaysia is one of the best final rounds in history. The world is at his feet.”