New Delhi: The Indian Golf Union (IGU) Amateur Tour is a strong reason behind the success of Indian professionals on the international circuits, feels Indian Open champion Anirban Lahiri.
Lahiri, who reached a career-high ranking of World No. 34 after clinching the Indian Open at the prestigious Delhi Golf course last week, said: "The Indian Golf Union's competitive Amateur golf Tour and Junior Golf program has given Indian golf its competitive edge.
"I was a participant in the IGU's junior programs in the South Zone and it was in that program that I met up with Vijay Divecha who continues to be my coach till this day.
"The mental and physical preparation a golfer gets playing four rounds at each of the 15 tournaments annually on the IGU Amateur Tour is a strong reason for the success of Indian professionals on the international circuits," he added.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Indian Open last week, Lahiri said: "When we were juniors and amateurs, the IGU ensured we played frequently in international events with the best golfers of our age in the world which gave me confidence to pursue a professional career."
Gaganjeet Bhullar, a five time Asian Tour player, echoed similar views. "I wouldn't have become what I am today without playing on the IGU's junior & amateur circuit."
The IGU in the last five years have not only conducted around 15 four-day amateur events annually for men around the country on a variety of courses but also has sent amateur teams to international events such as the Asian Games, Eisenhower Trophy (World Amateur Team Championship), Nomura Cup (Asia Pacific Amateur Team Golf Championship), Faldo Series, Asian Junior Championships.
The IGU also sent golfers to annual individual international events such as the new Asia Pacific Amateur Championship where the winner wins a spot at the Augusta Masters as well as the Malaysian and Singapore Amateur championships besides Sri Lanka Amateur.