Shiv Kapur. Pic: Paul Lakatos/ Asian Tour
Kanchanburi, Thailand, Feb 23: Shiv Kapur returns to Thailand, which has been a happy hunting ground for him. Kapur, who turned 40 two weeks, has twice won in Thailand and twice lost play-offs.
The Asian Tour, which started the 2022 season with the Saudi International has back-to-back events in Thailand. First is the Royal’s Cup with $ 400,000 on offer and the following week it will be the International Series, Bangkok at Hua Hin with a $ 1.5 million purse. Two weeks after tha t the Tour comes to India for the inaugural DGC Open presented by MasterCard.
Apart from Kapur, there will be 10 other Indians in the field. They are Ajeetesh Sandhu, Rashid Khan, S Chikkarangappa, Viraj Madappa, Khalin Joshi, Rahil Gangjee, Veer Ahlawat, Aman Raj, Aadil Bedi and Honey Baisoya.
It was back in 2005 that Kapur won in Thailand for his maiden Asian Tour at the Volvo Masters in his rookie year. It took him another 12 years to win again and that was in 2017 – a year in which he won three times. He won Yeangder Heritage in Taiwan and Panasonic Open in India at his home club, the Delhi Golf Club and then closed the year with a win at Royal Cup, an event which had the same name as this week’s Royal’s Cup but was not part of the Tour. Kapur said, “Anytime you win the Kings’ trophy in Thailand, it’s very special. I remember having my whole family there, my daughter was quite young, and my parents were also there that week. I remember having a tough battle with Prom (Meesawat) down the stretch. I was lucky to come out on top that time. We have had some great battles in the past from my junior days to my amateur days and to come out on top was pretty special and it was a great way to end that 2017 season for me.”
Of the current situation, Kapur, who won the Jeev Invitational on the Indian domestic Tour in November 2021, added, “I am quite relaxed actually. I have had unusual preparation, I went sky diving last week, and it could not have been different weather. I had a pretty hectic start to the year so I thought it would be nice to kick back and relax and come in with a different mindset.”
This week he has his coach Shane Gillespie on the back. “He’s been with me just over five years. Obviously, through the pandemic we weren’t able to see each other as much but he’s here for these two weeks and then he will follow me to Delhi Golf Club, so we get some good time together.
“I put in a lot of effort during the time off. I have been in the gym even though it may not show, trying to get fitter and stay injury free. I have done some pretty good work on my game. I have not had the wins. But put myself in position, but not been able to close at the weekend, that would be something I would like to change. I am treating this week like it’s a new season, that’s why the break last week. It’s important to feel mentally fresh as well.”
On the weekend in Saudi, he added, “I was a bit lacklustre, playing in a lot of wind as we have the last few weeks. I am feeling good about my game. I think there is a lot of good work we have put in already in the last 24 hours. And I am quite excited for the week.”
Kapur, who is now based in Dubai, also has a place in Bulgaria besides Delhi. “Bulgaria is like a second home for me, I have a second home there, I have my bar on the golf course (Lighthouse Golf & Spa Resort) there. I am quite attached to the place. I have been doing my Pro-am there for the last five years and I had lots of fond memories of the place.”