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Atwal trying to play well for pal Tiger

AFP
Published : Jul 2, 2017, 2:04 am IST
Updated : Jul 2, 2017, 2:04 am IST

One player sure to be watching is Woods, the 14-time major winner whose charity foundation stages this week’s event in suburban Washington.

Arjun Atwal
 Arjun Atwal

Potomac (United States): Arjun Atwal isn’t even ranked among the world’s top 1,000 golfers, but the 44-year-old from India is carrying the hopes of a legend this week — Tiger Woods.

Atwal, a long-time Florida neighbour and practice partner of Woods, fired a three-under-par 67 on Friday to stand among the second-round leaders at the US PGA National on five-under 135 at TPC Potomac.

“I don’t even know, seriously,” Atwal said when asked how he did it. “I haven’t really played much golf this year.

“This is only my fifth tournament of the year... So I’m a little tired, but we’ll see.”

One player sure to be watching is Woods, the 14-time major winner whose charity foundation stages this week’s event in suburban Washington.

Woods, 41, is absent this week while continuing treatment to manage medications for back pain and a sleep disorder. He turned to “professional help” after a May arrest for impaired driving.

Former world number one Woods provided a third consecutive sponsor’s exemption this week for 1,008th-ranked Atwal, who was 72nd in 2015 and 64th last year on different courses but is excited to be near the top now.

“It’s awesome,” Atwal said. “I’ve been talking to him almost every day and obviously he’s one of my better best friends.

“He wants me to play well. He has given me an invite almost the last three years every year, so I’m hoping I won’t let him down.”

Atwal, who has battled nagging injuries as Woods did, was the first India-born player to win a US PGA Tour event, taking the 2010 Greensboro title. But his last win, or top-10 finish, came at the Asian Tour’s 2014 Dubai Open.

Tags: arjun atwal, tiger woods