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Pawan finally gets an India cap

It had seemed like a case of close but not close enough. Pawan Kumar,third going into the final day of the Nomura Cup India team trials,looked certain to be finally realising his ambition of playing for India.

It had seemed like a case of close but not close enough. Pawan Kumar,third going into the final day of the Nomura Cup India team trials,looked certain to be finally realising his ambition of playing for India. Finishing blues,however,almost crashed those hopes,as Pawan’s round of 12-over at the Delhi Golf Club over the weekend melted away his five-shot lead over Karan Vasudeva to finish fourth.

With the top-three finishers assured of a spot on the Korea-bound Indian team for the Asia-Pacific amateur championship in September — the final golfer in the four-member team was to be picked at the Indian Golf Union (IGU) committee’s prerogative — Vasudeva’s one-over last round saw him placed third and a certainty in the team,along with Rashid Khan and Abhishek Jha.

A phone call on Monday,however,ended Pawan’s disappointment. The IGU committee,according to secretary Satish Aparajit,chose Pawan. “We decided to go with the top-four from the trials,while also considering Pawan’s recent consistency,” Aparajit told Sportline.

Pawan,currently fourth on the Tour Order of Merit list,had been nursing the ambition of making it to the Indian team since he had a word with Shiv Kapur at the beginning of this year,when the senior professional told him not to turn pro before an international amateur appearance. Into just his fourth season on the amateur circuit,Pawan,who took up golf only as a 20-year-old,said he’s thrilled to get his first chance to represent India. “This is huge for me,” Pawan said. “Now I just want to make sure I do the task that I have been given really well.”

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‘No repeat’
Pawan,however,wants to ensure that the mistakes that marred his game on the last two days of the trials are not repeated. “To play 17-over in two rounds on your home course is inexcusable. I was so upset with myself that I didn’t go back to the club these past two days,” he said.

Rashid and Jha,the top one and two on the Order of Merit and the trials,finished the eight-round,four-course test nine-under and five-under,respectively. The country’s top eight amateurs and top two juniors had been invited for the trials.

Delhi’s Vasudeva,who made the most of Pawan’s slip-up,will be making his first international appearance in some years. Having teed off on the 18th hole,he asked the watching bunch of fellow club mates the scores of other possible contenders. The answer the 22-year-old got was: “I hope you do some shopping for us in Korea.”

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India team: Rashid Khan,Abhishek Jha,Karan Vasudeva,Pawan Kumar

First published on: 14-07-2009 at 11:21:41 pm
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