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A new start for Pranav

As the wind blew shots astray,taking scores high,there was one smiling face amid many long ones. Pranav Kaul has spent six years playing golf,but if there is one week of play he wants the following ones to be like,it’s this one.

Written by Aabha Rathee | Noida | Published: February 12, 2009 12:46 am

Delhi lad gets Masters champ Zach Johnson’s coach to work on his game

As the wind blew shots astray,taking scores high,there was one smiling face amid many long ones. Pranav Kaul has spent six years playing golf,but if there is one week of play he wants the following ones to be like,it’s this one.

Kaul is tied fifth after two rounds of the LG Noida Open Amateur,but with a four-way tie at the top,he’s just a stroke off the lead. It’s a spot he has never found himself in before. In fact,it’s the first time he has managed to stay on for the last two rounds,and the Delhi boy is ready with the reason for what he hopes is a permanent turnaround in his game.

Last year,at friend and fellow amateur Abhinav Lohan’s suggestion,Kaul spent two months with famous American coach Mike Bender. Bender,incidentally,is more famous for taking American Zach Johnson to the 2007 Masters title.

“Bender changed my swing completely,” Kaul,says,speaking to Sportline on Wednesday. “He worked on my rhythm,follow-through,pace,balance,basically the whole package,and I’m glad I can see the result now in my scoring.”

The 19-year-old had spent a season and a half on the amateur circuit,making few tournament main fields,and fewer finishes he was proud of.

Striking gold
“I was pretty disappointed,before Abhinav came across Bender,spent time with him in America and told me I would do well to go do so myself,” the DLF Golf and Country Club player says.

Lohan had literally stumbled upon Bender’s name trying to find himself a coach online. “I did some research and sent queries to the world’s top-10 ranked coaches,along with my video. Bender was the one who replied,” Lohan says.

Kaul,who graduated from Salwan Public School last year,is now taking a year’s sabbatical to work on his game. There is still a long way to go in the tournament,but he’s already managed his first under-par score (a one-under 71 on Tuesday),his first cut,and now a first fling with the feeling of being among the leaders. It’s definitely not something he wants to let go of easily.

Four-way lead at top
Noida: Karan Vasudeva braved the difficult weather conditions to be the only player to shoot an under-par round,giving him a share of the lead at the halfway mark of the LG Noida Open Amateur along with Jasjeet Singh,Abhishek Jha and Arshdeep Tiwana.

Tiwana,who had shot a five-under 67 in the first round,failed to retain that touch carded six-over 78. Delhi boy Rashid Khan fell further down the leaderboard with a round of four-over 76,though he is just five strokes off the lead.

Scores: 1 Abhishek Jha,Arshdeep Tiwana,Jasjeet Singh,Karan Vasudeva 145; 5 Biren Dey,Pranav Kaul 146; 7 L Selvadurai,Rahul Bajaj 147; 9 Manav Das,Saurabh Bahuguna 148

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