Ashbeer to the fore as India maintain position | other | Hindustan Times
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Ashbeer to the fore as India maintain position

other Updated: May 15, 2010 01:07 IST

Ashbeer Saini has traversed through life by borrowing a leaf out of other's books. It started at age five, when he took to hockey. It wasn't surprising given the wind that blew across the Saini household. Father, Balwinder Singh, and uncle, Baljit Singh Saini, had donned India colours and their influence rubbed off on the little one. He began wielding the hockey stick with gay abandon within the safe precincts of the Railway Coach Factory, Kapurthala, without a premonition that a detour awaited him.

Witnessing his father tee off on weekends, Ashbeer, 9, switched allegiance and to this day remains a wide-eyed pupil of golf. This “follow the leader” policy has paid off, for not only does he have a chosen path, the 16-year-old possesses “nerves of steel” and oodles of inspiration, courtesy the hours of practice with idol, Gaganjeet Bhullar.

Ashbeer warded off intense pressure to win his first pro title last month, the Surya Nepal Masters in Kathmandu, and if the proof wasn't decisive, a glance at the Day II card on Friday confirmed his mental strength.

After Thursday's 73, Ashbeer had to step up and join hands with Chikkarangappa, who had another fruitful outing at Eagleton — The Golf Resort, to push India's case in the 31st HP Asia Pacific Junior Golf Championship. Ashbeer finished with a 68 and this, with Chikka's identical card, helped India maintain their second spot in the boys' team category.

“I used to succumb when put to test but watching Bhullar harden his nerves over the past year, has helped me,” said Ashbeer, who claims to have benefitted immensely from the sittings with Bhullar's psychoanalyst, Pradeep Aggarwal.

Atwal tied 7th in Texas Open

San Antonio: Arjun Atwal, on a comeback trail, shot one of his best rounds with a three-under 69 to lie tied seventh at the end of the first round of the Valero Texas Open golf on Thursday.

Jeev Milkha Singh, also making a return after an eight-week lay-off, did not have a happy start with a four-over 76 that put him in danger of missing the weekend action. Atwal had five birdies against two bogeys.