Sanjay stars against the world’s best
MOST nine year-olds would be filled with dread at the thought of pitting their golf game against the best young players in the world.
In fact most players of any age would baulk at the prospect of putting their game under such massive pressure. But not city sharp-shooter Sanjay Nithiyalingam.
Sanjay is the latest young talent to emerge from the burgeoning local scene and the Hampton youngster - still barely knee-high to a grasshopper - is already making some serious waves.
At the US Kids European Golf Championship in Scotland last weekend, Sanjay dealt with massive pressure to bag a top 20 finish in his first taste of top flight international competition.
And despite having never played links golf before, the young Burghley Park star, who plays off 24, is clearly eager for more, even if he found the going a little tougher than expected at Gullane in East Lothian.
He said: “It was my first experience of this kind of competition and it was very tough but also a lot of fun and I got the chance to make friends with kids from across the world which was great.
“The standard was very high and playing on a links course for the first time was tough but I think I did okay.”
In fact Sanjay’s form over the first 18 holes was nothing short of phenomenal as he tamed the wild Scottish links with a cracking opening round of 78 to leave him third overall.
Sadly the wind played havoc on round two and Nithiyalingam - who had his dad Babu as caddy for the event - tumbled down the leaderboard after an 89 but was still in with a shout of a top 10 finish with a good final round.
He added: “My aim was to get in the top ten and it was going brilliantly until the 17th hole where I blew up a bit.
“The 18th was not much better either and I ended with an 86 and 16th place overall but I was not disappointed.
“It was a great experience and we were all treated like professionals so I am really looking for- ward to next year.
“I think me and dad learnt a lot and I picked up a lot of experience about shot selection, course management and handling pressure.
“Hopefully I can build on what I achieved and play well at the Burghley Junior Championshhips as well as on the British Junior Tour over the next few months. The more big events I play the better I will become at handling everything that goes with it.”
GREAT EFFORT: Sanjay Nithiyalingam finished in the top 20 in the big US Kids European Championship.