Muniyappa will inspire more rags-to-riches stories: Han



Muniyappa will inspire more rags-to-riches stories: Han Sentosa (Singapore): Rookie golfer C Muniyappa's Indian Open triumph, which catapulted him into the top 10 of the Order of Merit, will inspire more rags-to-riches stories, Asian Tour Chairman Kyi Hla Han said here on Monday.

The 32-year-old joined illustrious compatriots Ali Sher, Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa by winning the Indian Open following a gutsy play-off triumph over Korea's Lee Sung yesterday.

Prior to his victory, Muniyappa was 97th position in the Asian Tour Order of Merit with earnings of USD 17,391, but his victory has now catapulted him to sixth place with USD 215,516.

Han lauded Muniyappa's triumph and likened it to the success of SSP Chowrasia, who won the Indian Masters last year. Both players come from humble beginnings with their fathers working at golf courses.

"Muniyappa's victory will inspire many young and less privileged Indian golfers to practise harder in search for success," Han said.

"Through his humble background as a caddie, he has shown that the way to success is through hard work and dedication and I'm sure he will now become a source of inspiration to many other golfers," he added.

As a seven-year-old, Muniyappa earned one rupee working as a caddie at the Karnataka Golf Association golf course and remained modest after winning close to USD 200,000 for his maiden triumph on the Asian Tour in what is his rookie season. "Maybe (I'll) rent a house," he said.

Muniyappa's father worked at a golf course and his first two clubs were give-aways, a two iron and a seven iron, and he developed his swing by watching club members.

"I have never had a coach," he said.

"I got some advice on things to work on this year on my swing but it would have taken a lot of practicing. There is no time. I'd rather be playing in tournaments than practising. I just go by feel."

Muniyappa's win was also applauded by his illustrious peers like Jeev Milkha Singh and Gaganjeet Bhullar.

"What a fantastic win for Muniyappa. When I saw he was leading after the third round, I was praying that he should go on to win. I haven't seen him play, but I do remember him as a very humble and hard-working guy," said Jeev.

"He's not scared. That's the attitude you need to win tournaments," added Bhullar.

US-based Arjun Atwal described Muniyappa's triumph as a landmark moment for Indian professional golf.

"It's great to witness new champions emerge from our country. I hope Muniyappa goes on to achieve even greater things in the future," he said.

Bureau Report