Atwal on right track to get back to US PGA Tour

February 29th, 2008 - 1:27 am ICT by admin  

Gurgaon, Feb 28 (IANS) Arjun Atwal, hoping to get his card on the US Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour, is using joint-sanctioned events in Asia to get him back into the form and rhythm that he needs to clinch his place back in the game’s elite. The strategy seems to be working, as he opened the Johnnie Walker Classic with a fine three-under 69 on the first day Thursday.

“I won here (DLF) in 2000 and it was fun back then. But you know I have struggled with my game in the last year and a half. So I am basically playing on those golf courses where I have done exceedingly well. So I picked up the schedule of playing at the Delhi Golf Club, Malaysian Open (he won in 2002) and on this course to get my confidence back,” said Atwal.

He has played three events so far this year and has done well in them. “I have been in contention till the final round in all the three events I have played so far this year. As long as I keep doing that it would be fun,” he said.

He played in a nationwide event in Panama before the Asian events and finished second. After that he was in contention till the final day at the Emaar-MGF Indian Masters before fading away and then finished tenth at the Astro Enjoy Indonesia Open ten days ago.

“I am going to Malaysia and will then skip Korea and I plan to be back in the US for the Nationwide. My plan is to do well in Nationwide and try to win three times and get a battlefield promotion. Also I had a good start in Panama where I was second,” he said.

Atwal had a decent outing on the par-72 course at the DLF Golf and Country Club and had five birdies and two bogeys in the day. He was not happy with his driving but was happy with his putting in his front nine, where he found three birdies.

He also had an interesting encounter on the ninth hole as his ball landed on top of a building and rebounded off to get into the bush. But he somehow managed to chip it back on the course and get a par. “That was a good par save,” he said.

On the par-72 DLF Golf and Country Club course, Atwal said: “The golf course is in great shape. The greens are firm and I have never seen them in such a firm condition. I think they stopped watering it. Otherwise they might have had a score of 20-under or something.”

Talking of his travails over the last 18 months, Atwal said: “I hurt my back in the third quarter of 2006 and then I had to go to rehab for my lower back. Then in March 2007 I had the car accident. Though I knew it would be all right, there was the investigation and it was always hanging over my head. That was distracting. Now it is all sorted out.”

Atwal has been given a clean chit in the case concerning the accident last March. “Just recently I got a call from Florida from my attorney and all charges have been thrown out. So it is all clear and I can focus only on golf.

“Also I had my second son on Dec 10 last year and that was great. It changes a lot of focus with the kids and I felt great.”

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