Leading Indian professional golfer Udayan Mane has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. The 30-year-old Mane thus joined good friend Anirban Lahiri as the second Indian in the 60-player field in the men’s golf event at Tokyo 2020.
The big-built Udayan, currently the second-highest ranked Indian in the world at 356, made the cut for his maiden Olympics after Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo announced his withdrawal from the quadrennial event on Thursday, June 24. As a result, Mane qualified for Tokyo on the basis of being first reserve against Grillo’s name. The official announcement of Udayan’s qualification for the Olympics was made on Tuesday on the International Golf Federation’s (IGF) website with Mane being placed No. 60 on the Olympic Golf Rankings list.
Two weeks back, PGA Tour regular Lahiri, the highest-ranked Indian golfer at 340, had become the first Indian male golfer to qualify for Tokyo 2020 following some withdrawals from the list of qualified players. Lahiri will be appearing at his second consecutive Olympic Games as he had also represented India at the Rio 2016 Olympics along with SSP Chawrasia.
The men’s golf event in Tokyo will feature 60 players and will be played at the Kasumigaseki Country Club from July 29-August 1.
The Chennai-born Mane who grew up in Bengaluru and now resides in Pune has been one of the most successful golfers on the PGTI since he turned professional in 2015. Udayan is an 11-time winner on the PGTI and is one of only two players (along with Ashok Kumar) to have won three consecutive events on the tour.
He achieved the feat between December 2019 and February 2020 when he won the TATA Steel Tour Championship 2019, Vooty & Haldi Presents Golconda Masters 2020 Powered by Telangana Tourism and TATA Steel PGTI Players Championship 2020 Presented by Eagleton – The Golf Resort. Mane won PGTI’s last event Prometheus School Presents Delhi-NCR Open in March 2021.
Mane also holds the record for being the only rookie to have won two titles on the tour back in 2015. Udayan was the PGTI Emerging Player of the Year in 2015 having finished a creditable fifth on the PGTI Order of Merit in his debut season. His best finish on the PGTI Rankings has been second place in 2017.
Udayan also had an impressive amateur career prior to turning professional. He was India’s No. 1 amateur in 2014. In 2014, Mane went on to represent the country at the Incheon Asian Games and the Eisenhower Trophy.
“I’m really excited about getting the opportunity to represent India at the Olympics. In fact, I’m still pinching myself as it hasn’t yet sunk in fully,” Mane said while speaking to PGTI.
“With a great 2020-’21 season on the PGTI, I felt that I had almost sealed my qualification for the Olympics but the lockdown in India this year put some doubts in my mind whether I could actually make the cut for Tokyo. The only tours which have recently been operational are the PGA Tour and European Tour and I thought the players from those tours had a real chance of pushing through and qualifying for the Olympics,” he added.
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