Turning out for the Indian Open has been a source of bother for Shiv Kapur. He was yet to finish school when he picked up the rudiments at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC).
Hooked on to the sport, home soon became a transit point for rest and meals as he struggled to divide his day between
Modern School and DGC.
Even though the titles have dried up since the breakthrough win on the Asian Tour in 2005, there's no denying the talent. This and the sound knowledge of what lies beyond the tight bends of this quaint venue, had, over the years, billed him as one of the home favourites at the National Open.
Coping with expectations hasn't been easy. On the heels of the final day burst, which saw him surge to T3 in 2010, came the missed cut last year.
This week at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA), the pressure is off him. Happy to "pass on the load", Shiv sat with an ear-to-ear grin as Anirban Lahiri explained what it means to turn out on home turf.
After two strong finishes on the Tour within a month, the tenor of questions assumed a different hue on Monday. "Unlike previously, when I had to explain that I was doing all the right things yet things weren't working out, it is so much better to say that the form is where I expect it to be," he said. A vigorous shake of the head followed. It was as if a thought from the past had crossed the mind.
The wait may have spilled beyond the realms of imagination, but Shiv's belief is unflinching. "When you keep knocking on the door, it is bound to open some time."
Ever since a memorable debut at The Open in July, made sweeter by the hole-in-one on the penultimate day at the Royal Lytham, Anirban has struggled to find the form that made him hot property in the first half of the year.
The past weeks have seen him traverse from missed cuts to mediocre finishes, and there could be no better setting to get back into business than the KGA.
Shiv's pat on the shoulder was a way of transferring the burden of playing at home, but Anirban took it on with a grateful look.
The friendly banter or the amused glances when defending champion David Gleeson reacted to an incorrect query, the chemistry between Shiv and Anirban was infectious.
What united them was their faith — one that promises a better morrow.
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