It isn’t often, but whenever he’s in town, Rashid Khan makes it a point to head home after completing the day’s engagements. “Nothing like sleeping in one’s bed,” he says. After six seasons on the Asian Tour, he knows. Whatever the condition of the cot, the quality of sleep cannot match the luxury of a hotel bed.
Practicing at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) brings a similar feel. The initiation happened here, and since then he walked the fairways dreaming of a breakthrough. It happened when he won the SAIL-SBI Open in 2014 to gain full playing rights on the Asian Tour.
More than the familiarity, it’s the banter with friends during practice he’s missed of late. Differences with the committee members there led to some home-grown golfers being barred from practice. The problem has been resolved, but the time away hit him hard.
During that phase, the Noida Golf Course was home. Trying to make up for lost time, Rashid practiced regularly in June as a top finish at the Queen’s Cup in Thailand would have given him an outside chance of challenging SSP Chawrasia for a spot in the Olympic team.
As luck would have it, a road accident a day before departure kept him out of action for a while. There is regret but he was happy to be in line for the title at the venue that gave him refuge.
Like the times he’s endured, the conditions on the penultimate day of the Take Solutions Classic on Friday weren’t easy. He was patient, telling himself all the way to “keep trying my best to be in with a chance”.
At eight-under 208, a shot separates him and Honey Baisoya, a compatriot from DGC. It isn’t the wafer-thin lead that has him worried. “Hitting the ball better than last year”, the concern is on the greens. “The feel is not there.”
Things are on the mend though. The resolution at DGC allowed him a few rounds of practice before the Sri Lanka Open. When it culminated at the Royal Colombo Golf Club last month, there were just three sub-par scores with Rashid at the top.
Hope floats for the 25-year-old.
208: Rashid Khan (71, 69, 68); 209: Honey Baisoya (72, 65, 72); 210: C Muniyappa (67, 72, 71); Amardip Malik (72, 67, 71); 212: Khalin Joshi (73, 70, 69); Sachin Baisoya (69, 74, 69); Sujjan Singh (70, 71, 71).