Greensboro, Aug 12 : Arjun Atwal, one of India's most decorated golfers, returns to the PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship this week, the scene of his most memorable triumph a decade back.
It was at the 2010 Wyndham Championship staged at the Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina, that one of the most glorious chapters in Indian golfing history was written as Atwal became the first Indian to capture a PGA Tour title and conquer uncharted territory.
The 47-year-old Arjun, still the only Indian to have won on the world's most prestigious golf tour, has vivid memories of the day when he also earned the distinction of becoming the first Monday qualifier to win on the PGA Tour in 24 years.
"I remember I was really nervous in the moments leading up to the winning putt as I knew that this was my chance at making history. But once I lined up that all-important seven-footer and was ready to make the putt, I was much calmer and in control. After I sank the putt I remember dropping my putter and raising my arms in order to celebrate," said Atwal, who shot scores of 61, 67, 65 and 67 to total 20-under-260 for the week and beat American David Toms to the post by one stroke.
"There was a huge sense of relief as I had come close to winning in the past on a few occasions on the PGA Tour especially at the BellSouth Classic 2005 where I lost out in a five-way playoff and Phil Mickelson went on to win the event.
"Even though I don't think too much about past records, I must admit that it does feel very special to be back at the same venue and event and the fact that it's been 10 years since that win also indicates how much older I am now," said Atwal with a chuckle.
Arjun, a resident of Windermere, Florida since 2003, has nine other international wins to his credit including three on the European Tour.
The 6 foot 1 inch tall Atwal who originally hails from Kolkata became the first Indian to win on the European Tour when he posted an emphatic five-stroke victory at the 2002 Caltex Singapore Masters.However, Arjun counts his win at the 1999 Indian Open as the other most cherished moment of his professional career after the win on the PGA Tour.
Atwal said, "I won my first Asian Tour event at the 1999 Indian Open. The event also happened to be played at my home course, the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC). So winning in front of my home crowd, family and friends made it that much more special.