New Asian Tour champion Viraj Madappa is eyeing a top 10 finish in the order of merit as he returns to the USD 1.36 million Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup, a tournament he played as an amateur in 2015.
He recalls playing in his first ever professional tournament in Japan where he was star-struck when playing a practice round with Arjun Atwal, Rahil Gangjee, Daniel Chopra and SSP Chawrasia.
Fast forward to 2018 and the super-fit Madappa is now a winner on the Asian Tour and will be one of the top contenders when he features at the Musashi Country Club, Sasai Course from September 20 to 23.
Currently ranked 40th on the Habitat for Humanity Standings, Madappa's immediate goal is to break into the top-10 on the Asian Tour to qualify for the CIMB Classic in October.
"My first goal at the start of the year was to try and win a tournament and I've done that. I also wanted to finish inside the top-10 on the Order of Merit and I'm closer to that goal now," he said.
He has also set his eyes on representing India at the 2020 Olympics in Japan.
"I've won but I really want to achieve more, improve on my world ranking because I'm aiming to play in 2020 Olympics," said Madappa.
The Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organization.
The 20-year-old Indian will challenge for the prestigious trophy against an impressive line-up which includes 2016 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Scott Hend of Australia, Gaganjeet Bhullar of India, Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand and KT Kim of Korea.
The Tour rookie Madappa will be playing in his first tournament since claiming a stunning victory for his first Asian Tour title at the TAKE Solutions Masters on home soil last month.
"It was a great experience and funnily enough I'm going back to Japan. Back then, it was my first professional tournament and I was in awe with the players. I learned a lot that week but it was also very intimidating for me playing in front of big crowds," Madappa recalled.
He is eyeing for more success after becoming the youngest Indian winner on the Asian Tour at the age of 20 years and nine months.
Arguably one of the fittest golfers on the Asian Tour, he follows a strict diet and fitness routine to improve his golf game.
"You can't perform your best unless you tick off all the boxes. Working at the gym or improving mental state will help you become a better player. I put in a lot of work in the gym and do my meditation often and I'm strict with my nutrition.
"Outside of my usual golf practice, I work out six times a week which consists of different exercises. I also eat healthy and at the moment I'm not taking any sugar. I have more hunger now because I've tasted success and I want to put in more hard work," he explained.
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