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Delhi golfer says English great told him how to play in the wind on a links course

SHIV Kapur could not have put more method or thought into his preparations for the 2013 Open Championships, after coming through the qualifications at the Dunbar Links, which is 30 minutes from Muirfield, on the east coast of Scotland.

Last week he made contact with Sir Nick Faldo, the only living golfer to have won The Open twice at Muirfield in 1987 and 1992 -- the other being James Braid in 1901 and 1906 -- to see if he could get a practice round with him. The English legend agreed to Kapur's request and they played nine holes on Monday and Kapur exulted in the experience and the advice he got from the sixtime Major champion.

Kapur also ensured he did not forget the lessons drilled into him by Italian coach Alberto Binaghi, who over the last few weeks has helped him improve his short game. For that he played a practice round with Italians Francesco Molinari and the prodigious Matteo Manassero, who are also coached by him. Binaghi, often carries the bag for Manassero, who at 20 has underlined his amazing talent with four wins in Europe and a place in top- 30 in the world rankings.

One of the most outspoken commentators in the sport, Faldo has taken time off the TV commentary box, to tee up at the tournament he last played in 2010 at St. Andrews.

Kapur gushed, " This is the first time I played with him ( Faldo).

He is arguably one of the greatest golfers of all time. It was a cool experience. He knows the course very well and I tried to pick his brain on how to play in the wind. He gave me some terrific advice." Faldo advised Kapur to keep his arms and hands soft when playing in the wind. Kapur said, " The tendency is to get tight.

Here you need to keep the ball down and study the approach shots into the green. On a Links course you have to study what's around the greens and not just on the greens. That's something we are not accustomed too. We usually look at the yardage and hit our shots but these little things make a difference." On how he arranged the round with Faldo, Kapur said, " I got in touch with him last week and he agreed to play and we played the back nine holes together and it was a cool experience." said Kapur.

Speaking of his chances, the cheery Kapur, the only Indian in the field, smiled and replied quickly, " I think my chances of finishing as the best Indian are pretty good.

It is nice to have some Indian representation here. I think we got a really strong bunch of players at the moment and it won't be long before we have three or four of us playing in the Majors." Kapur will have a strong family support, which arrived on Monday evening. " My family is here and I'm looking forward to the experience. I'm carrying the hopes of the nation so I have to live up to that billing." Kapur's father, Ravi, who has backed him throughout his career, was there when Shiv made his debut at The Open back in 2006 at Royal Liverpool.

Kapur is only the third Indian after Jyoti Randhawa ( three times) and Jeev Milkha Singh ( twice) to make a repeat appearance at The Open.

Kapur will play the first two rounds with Scotland's Scott Jamieson and Frenchman Gregory Bourdy.

Plays nine holes during a practice round with three- time British Open champion Nick Faldo on Monday

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jul 17, 2013
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