Prodigy Nihal Cheema second as three Indians are in Top-5 at US Kids World Champs

From left Nihal Cheema, Ojaswini Saraswat and Kabir Goyal

Pinehurst, US, Aug 4: Led by the tiny champion, Nihal Cheema in Boys Under 6, three Indians were in the Top-5 after the first day of the World Championships for Boys and Girls for ages six to 12. While Cheema was Tied-second in Boys Under-6, Kabir Goyal (even par 36) was T-4 in Boys 8 Category and Ojaswini Saraswat (even par 72) was Tied-fifth in Girls 10 section.

Cheema, the six-year-old Indian prodigy began with a flourish in the Boys Under-6 at the World Championships for Boys and Girls for ages six to 12, as he shot 2-under 34 and was lying tied second at the at the Midland Country Club. His round included a superb eagle on Par-5 sixth hole and a birdie on fourth and his dropped shot came on the seventh. He was one shot behind leader Bradley Ferguson of the US.

In the sections, Boys Under the age of eight years and Girls Under the age of nine years play on nine-hole courses in a competition, where the layouts are age-specific in the only world event of its kind.

Another Indian who did well was Kabir Goyal, whose nine-hole score of even par 36 at Mid Pines (Black) placed him Tied-fourth, and his colleague Sahib Aujla (43) was lying T-50. Goyal, one of the nine players tied at fourth, was one shot behind three leaders, who co-lead with 1-under 35 each.

Another fine performer from the Indian squad was Ojaswini Saraswat, a regular medallist at international events. She shot even par 72 in Girls 10 and was Tied-fifth but five shots behind the leader, Iris Lee of the US at Southern Pines Golf Club.

In Girls 11, Naina Kapoor with 9-over 81 at Pinehurst 6 was T-44 and in Girls 12 at Pinehurst 5, Shambhavi Chaturvedi and Ananyaa Sood were both T-20 with scores of 2-over 74 each.

Among Girls 7 and under, Vedika Bhansali opened her nine-hole round with an even par 36 and was in Top-10 at Tied-ninth place, while her teammate Ahana Shah shot 2-over 38 and was Tied-13th.

In Boys 10, Adit Veeramachaneni, a multiple winner at home, opened with a disappointing 6-over 78 at the Legacy Golf Links, while Chaitanya Pandey, another previously successful youngster was T-32nd with 2-over 74 in Boys 11 at Talamore Golf Club.

Last week three Indian golfers, Mahreen Bhatia (2nd in Girls 14), Kartik Singh (T-3 Boys 13) and Lavanya Gupta (T-3 Girls 15-18) had podium finishes in the World Teen Championships for Boys and Girls at Pinehurst.

The U.S. Kids Golf World Championship is recognised as a ranked event for the Junior Golf Scoreboard and the American Junior Golf Association besides allowing the players to gain World Amateur Golf Ranking points.

World class players emerging from the US Kids include the likes of World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, two-time Major winners Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas, Sahith Theegala among others while women stars include Lexi Thompson and the latest women’s Major winner, Allisen Corpuz, who won the US Women’s Open last month, is a three time winner and twice runner-up at US Kids. Aditi Ashok, India’s top woman pro, and Avani Prashanth, India’s top amateur also played with distinction at US Kids events.


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