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Mangalore teenager creates ripples

Special Correspondent
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Rigel Fernandes came out with flying colours in the recent All-India Junior Golf

Rigel Fernandes
Rigel Fernandes

Mangalore can now boast another talented sportsperson – this time in golf. After a series of victories for the city's children in chess and dazzling international performance by youths from the coastal districts in athletics, Mangalorean Rigel Fernandes, all of 14, has shot to limelight.

Son of Rachana Award winner and IT entrepreneur Ivan Fernandes, Rigel has done well in the All-India Junior Golf Tournament held at Eagleton Golf Club in Bangalore from December 27 to 30. It was organised by the Indian Gold Union (IGU), New Delhi. The young sportsperson won the category B (under-15) event and gave a tough fight to reigning amateur champion in the category A (under 18) S. Chikkarangappa and finished second runner-up in that category too.

IGU Assistant Tournament director Tushar confirmed the feat of the boy to The Hindu from New Delhi over telephone on Friday.

According to his uncle Felix Fernandes, Rigel was in Mangalore till he was four when his father had to shift to West Asia for better career prospects. For the last three years, the boy has been based in Florida. He took interest in the sport in Dubai and his talent was spotted by Americans, who offered to train him further. Every day the boy wakes up at 4 a.m. and trains hard till his school time in Florida, according to his uncle.

The official blog of the IMG Leadbetter Golf Academy has proudly proclaimed that Rigel Fernandes “has already endured much success in his young golf career. He has won several national and international junior tournaments, including a third place finish in the US Kids World Teen golf championship, and now can add the All India Junior Golf Tournament to his list of accolades.”

Noting that he had won his section by a 13-stroke margin in the Indian event, the blog said: “His four-round total of 291 included a tournament best first round 72.

 To put Fernandes' outstanding performance in perspective, last year's Category B champion had a score of 30 over par.  Fernandes total score this year was only 3 over par.”

A release issued by Fernandes family quoted IGU tournament director C.S. Shetty saying that his participation in the meet had “raised the bar of Indian Juniors.”

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