Sentosa, Singapore: Asian Tour’s newest champion Mukesh Kumar of India showed there is still plenty of gas left in his tank when he finally delivered on the international stage with his win at the Panasonic Open India.
At 51 years and 126 days, the Indian veteran gave his younger rivals a lesson in golf by staying cool in the heat of battle to end his 32-year wait for an international title at the Delhi Golf Club.
“I am very proud of myself. I have waited 32 years (since turning professional) for this. This means a lot to me. It is my first international win,” said Mukesh.
A dominant force on the domestic circuit, Kumar leaned on his years of experience to punch above his weight and propelled himself into international spotlight.
“Whenever I lead on the local Tour, it’s not easy for me to lose it. But it feels very different today because I know there are many good players out here.
“I am very glad that I managed to stay in the moment and get the job done,” said Kumar.
Kumar’s heroics at the penultimate event on the 2016 Asian Tour season has led to a chorus of praises from his fellow countrymen, who all tipped their hat to the worthy Panasonic Open India champion.
In a Twitter post, Jeev Milkha Singh, a two-time Asian Tour number one, applauded the dedication and belief Kumar had in his game.
“Mukesh Kumar is an example for all of us to follow. He stayed true to his trade and is reaping rich reward even at age 51. Well done!!” wrote Singh.
S.S.P. Chawrasia, a five-time Asian Tour winner, also paid tribute to his compatriot on social media for being an inspiration to the game.
“We have all learned a lot from Mukesh Kumar. He is a true inspiration. A very worthy winner indeed!” wrote Chawrasia.
While Kumar will not feature in the season-ending event at the UBS Hong Kong Open this week, all eyes will be on the veteran when he tees up regularly on the Asian Tour next year.
“I’ll play on the Asian Tour next year now that I have won my card. However, I would have to give the Hong Kong Open next week a miss as I won’t be able to get my passport renewed in time,” said Kumar.