Chiba, Japan: Jyoti Randhawa of India will return to action at the Panasonic Open Golf Championship, which starts on Thursday, after breaking his leg earlier this year.
Randhawa, the Asian Tour Order of Merit winner in 2002, broke a bone in his right shin when his all-terrain vehicle overturned and landed on his leg while on holiday in India in February.
The eight-time Asian Tour winner was out of action for close to six weeks and played his first round of golf during the practice rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday where he played nine holes on each day at the Chiba Country Club, Umesato course.
He is excited to be among the elite field at the 150 million Yen (approximately US$1.27 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour where he will be joined by K.T. Kim of Korea, Natipong Srithong of Thailand, last year’s Asian Tour Rookie of the Year, and flamboyant Japanese star Shingo Katayama.
“I like my bikes and I was on my all-terrain vehicle (ATV) trying to get up a steep slope. I accelerated at the wrong time and it flipped over. I jumped away but it landed on my right foot and broke my right leg,” said Randhawa.
“I didn’t break the main shin bone but it was the smaller bone. It was an actual break but it wasn’t that bad because the bone was still in the same place. I was in a plaster for six weeks and had a lot of rest.
“It does take some time to get back especially when you are older. I’m a bit stiff and I’m not swinging as good as I wish to but it is mind over matter I guess. I’ve played a lot, been there and done that before so I’m going to try and manoeuvre the golf course with my ‘B Game’,” added the 43-year-old.
Randhawa is feeling recharged after recuperating at home and spending time with his family.
“I had a good time at home for six weeks. These days they have a new type of plaster where you can walk in it. So two weeks after my injury I was walking with a stick. I went to my farm to rest and relaxed. I had a great time with the family but the only thing I missed was playing in tournaments,” said the Indian.
The big-hitting Gavin Green of Malaysia, who won his third Asian Development Tour (ADT) title last week to occupy the 60th and last spot on the Olympics qualifying ranking, hopes to repeat his winning formula in Japan. The Olympic qualifying cut-off is on July 11, 2016.
“I wasn’t looking at the Olympic rankings at all (at the start of the year) because I knew if I played solid then everything would take care of itself. I put my mind into golf and practised hard,” said Green, formerly ranked 12th in the world amateur rankings.
“The win was big and it was good! It was a big jump for me. I was playing solid and I’ve always been close so thankfully I pulled it off last week. Overall I was comfortable, hitting the ball solid and I was able to take advantage of that,” he added.
The talented Natipong, who sensationally won his first Asian Tour title in Philippines last year in his rookie season, is feeling confident ahead of the Panasonic Open Golf Championship after sharpening his short game during the break.
“I’ve been practising a lot on my short game because I feel that’s one part of my game that wasn’t very good. When I won in Philippines last year, my ball striking and putting were good but I didn’t chip as well as I would have liked to. I’m feeling very confident in my game now,” said Natipong, who juggles between his professional golf career and law studies.