Dream come true for Asia No. 1 Randhawa

updated: February 25, 2007 09:28 IST
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New Delhi:

It has been an incredible year for Indian Golf with Arjun Atwal winning on the European Tour, Jeev Milkha Singh qualifying for the US Open and Shiv Kapur winning gold at the Asian Games. But the highlight will definitely be Jyoti Randhawa topping the Asian Order of Merit and in the process becoming the first ever Indian to do so. He's had amazing success in the Asian golf circuit in the last few years. A two-time winner of the Hero Honda masters, Randhawa is a Wills Indian Open champion as well. But 2002 seemed like it might have been a washout for Randhawa after a bike accident kept him out of golf for six months. "I think my accident did a lot. It was more of a boon in disguise. It made me think a lot about what I am and I got my perspective right as to what I had to do with my life," says Randhawa. "Those six months, sitting at home, which is very hard for a sportsman to do, made me think a lot, made me stronger and gave me more will power, more mental strength." Ironically, he didn't win a single tournament this year but had top 15 finishes in 10 events in Asia. That gave him earnings of more than quarter of a million US dollars, which was good enough to win the Asian Order of Merit title. When asked if he could see the title coming, Randhawa says, "No, not really. I never expected to be number one in the order of merit but it was always on my mind to be number one in Asia, one way or the other and it happened quite soon." Jeev Milkha Singh missed his chance to make it to the US PGA tour but clearly that is destination number one for every golfer including Randhawa. "Well, being number one on the Order of Merit gives me one year exemption in Japan. So that's what I am going to concentrate on next year and definitely go and try to qualify for the European and US Tour next year," Randhawa says. "I do get a lot of starts in the European tour because of this, so maybe if I can win an event in the European Tour maybe I don't have to qualify. My eventual aim is to qualify for the US tour." That will need many more hours on the practice range but every milestone for Randhawa is yet another reminder that he has to live up to the expectations of a mother he lost a few years ago to cancer. "Yeah, definitely that always plays on the back of my mind. She used to encourage me and I was the star in her eyes," says Randhawa. "She always admired Greg Norman and she wanted me to be like him."