Playing in the final three-ball on Friday afternoon, Shiv Kapur is golfing his face off and he has nine holes to play, but he’s your current first-round leader at the Open Championship .
While just about everyone else playing in the afternoon wave at Muirfield is scrambling for pars — and breaking clubs, Kapur fired a sizzling six-under 30 on the front nine, birdieing six of the first seven holes. He even had an impressive up-and-down on no. 8, which Ian Poulter called “a joke” on Twitter.
As longtime readers remember, I used to regularly write a “Know Your Asians” feature, mostly highlighting ladies on the LPGA, but I’ll throw in a guy when applicable. When better to bring back one of the greatest WUP columns of all time than in Scotland at the Open?!? Right, that’s what I said, too.
Thanks to tools, like the all-knowing Wikipedia and Google, along with the Media Players Guide, for the info on Shiv.
*He’s a 31-year-old ,who was born in New Delhi, India, and played college golf at Purdue University.
*This is his second start at the Open Championship. He made his last and only appearance back in 2006.
*He qualified for the Open at Muirfield by going through the Local Final Qualifying (LFQ) event in Dunbar, Scotland, a few weeks ago.
*He won the 2005 Volvo Masters of Asia on the Asian Tour.
*Shiv has also won on the Challenge Tour, the European Tour’s equivalent of the Web.com Tour, earlier this year at the Gujarat Kensville Challenge in February.
*In 164 starts on the European Tour, he has five top-10 finishes.
*Shiv is the son of a stock broker. His parents wanted him to study at Harvard, but he went to Purdue because he felt it’d be better for his golf game.
*Won the 2000 Malaysian and Indian Amateurs and earned an individual gold medal in the 2002 Asian Games.
*Alan Shipnuck wrote a story on Jeev Milkha Singh in 2007 and recalls Singh singing Shiv’s praises.
Back in ’07 Jeev Milkha Singh told me,”Keep an eye on Shiv. He has the total game but, more importantly, he has the mind. He is not afraid.”
— Alan Shipnuck (@AlanShipnuck) July 18, 2013
*Shiv’s swing coach is Jamie Gough and he works with Italian Alberto Binaghi for his short game.
*Shiv is based in Milan, according to the Press Trust of India: ”I have based myself in Milan because it helps me travel around Europe and I am working with Alberto over for the last few months. We worked on my short game and hitting shots in the wind. Jamie helped me get the belief back in my swing.”
*Kapur also told the PTI that it was going to be a tough week: ”Playing links golf is a whole new challenge because it requires a lot of creativity and imagination. Most of the time yardages don’t mean much because you need to be able to control your flight and spin of the golf ball. I’m practising shots that you don’t usually encounter on most weeks on tour and the golf course is much more demanding so mentally you have to be up for the challenge.
*Shiv added he hoped to make the cut: “Being the only Indian in the field there will be focus on me but I am not going to let the pressure get to me. I am feeling good and the game is in right shape. The first goal is to get into weekend action and then take it from there.”
Oh, no! Shiv found himself in a tough spot on no. 10 and kicked off the back nine with a double-bogey, so he dropped into a tie for second with Rafael Cabrera Bello and Mark O’Meara.
We’ll update this post later when Shiv has completed his first round and after we speak to him directly and get to know Kapur a little better.
*Update: Shiv shot a first-round three-under 68. “ Nobody is expecting me to be up there and it’s a funny name in the middle of all those sort of proven major winners and stuff,” he said. “But it’s nice to see my name up there. At least I can hold my head up high and say I led The Open Championship, the greatest tournament I think there is. And that’s something I’ll take a lot of pride in.”