Amidst preparations for college examinations, 20-year-old golfer Keshav Mishra travelled to Da Nang, Vietnam, to compete in the prestigious Faldo Asia Series. It was his first-ever international event and Mishra would return home with the title in the Under-21 category.
The triumph at the Laguna Golf Lang Co course marked the Mishra's emergence on the Indian golf circuit and has paved the way for him to become one of the city's few golfing professionals.
The priority at present, however, is to finish his higher studies. But with the recent result, he is getting close to making his next big move in his golfing career.
"I want to play on the national circuit for the rest of the year," says the third-year economics student at the Jai Hind College. "And if all goes well, I want to turn pro by next year."
Mishra's run in the lead-up to the event in Vietnam began with wins in the qualifying rounds in Bangalore and Kolkata. Training for the qualifiers took place at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club, where he has been training since he was 12.
Interestingly, golf was not Mishra's first sporting choice. In his pre-teens, he was a budding state-level tennis player until he was stricken with jaundice. It was during the recovery that his father, Colonel Shailesh Mishra, insisted that he switched a tennis racquet for a club.
Coincidentally, top Indian golfers such as Anirban Lahiri and Shubhankar Sharma are also from an Army background. Back from his Vietnam sojourn, Mishra is carefully planning for the rest of the season. The calendar has been peppered with tournaments throughout India but he will be switching his training base to Chandigarh.
"The reason is that golf isn't growing much in Mumbai because of lack of practice facilities and high cost," he says. "Membership in Chembur (where he plays) is around Rs 50 lakh."
Mishra says his access to the sport was easier due to his Army background. Chandigarh has developed into a hub for the sport and Mishra hopes to use that to hone his skills.
As of now, his thoughts have shifted to the United Arab Emirates. Having finished fourth overall at the Asia Series, and topping the U-21 category, he has secured qualification at the finals in the Middle East. Top prospects from the European sector will be competing at that event. But Mishra, buoyed by a maiden triumph in his first international, is looking for yet another title before he turns pro.