Five shots off the lead at the start of the final day means you are still in the race. That’s the way I look at my position after shooting a two-under round of 70 on Saturday at the Hero Honda Indian Open. But I was expecting something better.
I was just not in my groove for most part of the day. I was missing fairways off the tee and even if I was hitting the greens, I was leaving myself with 30-40-footer shots for birdie. The putter was not behaving as well as it did on Friday. There was a three-putt bogey in the round, and I did not make any of the long putts for birdie.
However, it was not all doom and gloom. I did manage to make a strong finish. One-over for the round after 13 holes, I came back with three birdies. Those three birdies will be uppermost in my mind when I start my final round. I will be thinking of a good finish and hopefully, that will provide me with the right energy to start the round.
At five-under, I am not too far away from the leader, C Muniyappa. You never know in golf — five shots can be made up.
I’m impressed with the way Muniyappa is holding on to his lead. The conditions on the course were not easy, but he did well. I saw him make an unfortunate bogey on the 17th hole, but the way he fought back and made a birdie on the 18th is proof of his fighting spirit.
Winning your first title on the Tour is never easy. I remember how I struggled for almost four years before my maiden win at the 1999 Indian Open. From my own experience, the key for him would be to keep his mind in the present and not start thinking ahead.
I can tell him one more thing — once you win the first title, the next one is easier, for you know that you have been in that zone. Muniyappa will hopefully soon enter that zone.