By Aman Misra in Gurgaon
At lunch after the final round of the Hero Indian Open, a few lady professionals were asked what they were doing at the age of 14.
Noemi Jimenez and Isabelle Boineau both said they were playing junior golf, and attending school, trying to break 80.
Secretary-General of the Women’s Golf Association of India(WGAI), Champika Sayal said she was looking for golf balls in the bushes at the Delhi Golf Club.
Not Pranavi Urs, who played her maiden Ladies European Tour (LET) event at the recently completed Indian Open. Playing alongside seasoned professionals on a sponsor exemption, the Mysuru girl shot scores of 77,70 and 79 at the par-72 DLF Golf and Country Club (Gary Player course) to finish the event in 61st place, as the only amateur to make the cut.
The second youngest player in the field started on the back nine on Friday carding a first-round five-over 77 before a flawless five-under front nine helped her finish day two at two-under 70, comfortably finishing inside the cut which went to +4.
“I was constantly looking at the projected cut on day two. Coming up the 18th and making a birdie to finish the round was the best feeling of the entire week.” said the junior who practices and plays at the Jayachamraja Wadiyar Golf Club in Karnataka.
When asked about her experience this week, Urs spoke about soaking up the atmosphere. “Players on the LET walk very fast, sometimes it was difficult to keep up with them!”
“I’m very happy with the way this week has gone. I kept flag hunting. The professionals I played with (Pamela Pretswell and Saraporn Chamchoi) kept encouraging me and said I could turn professional if I want to.”
Which is what she plans to do by the age of 17 if all goes well. She looks up to Aditi Ashok who is a former winner at this tournament and teed it up for the first time in the 2012 edition at the same age.
Ashok chipped in on Pranavi’s week as well. “Just as it was for me, this would be a great experience for her. At the time it was the biggest tournament I had ever played in my life. It will only encourage her to do better.”
Only a few years ago at the 2012 men’s Indian Open in Bangalore, Urs attended a clinic held by Scotland’s Ritchie Ramsey much like the juniors who attended the camp held by the WGAI and LET this week. For her, it put things in perspective.
A final round 79 did little to dampen her spirits. “I hope to be at the Tokyo Olympic Games come 2020” signs off the young golfer who also looks up to Jordan Spieth on the men’s tour.