Disappointment written all over, Chiragh Kumar mumbled, "I'm not totally dissatisfied with my score (two-under 70)." The slouched posture and the reluctance to speak into the microphone made it clear he was eager to get over with it.
Starting with a three-stroke cushion over David Gleeson, and ending Saturday one behind the Aussie wasn't how he would have liked things to be, but his policy of sticking to the process, which also calls for a cap on emotions, would have let him get around by the time he took the dais to field questions.Chiragh swears by the ways devised by mental trainer, Tarun Jain, but for once the lip-out on the 18th broke through to make an impact. Had the birdie putt rolled in, he would have started the final day of the Hero Indian Open on an even keel with Gleeson (16-under 200), who bogeyed the hole.
Fortunes swung as the two engaged in a battle for supremacy, but in the midst of the keen contest, a rapport was struck on the greens of the Delhi Golf Club. Sensing his opponent's reluctance to sum up the round, Gleeson stepped in for Chiragh. "It was the third day and a tough one for both of us to find the right frame of mind to do what we wanted to. We had flying starts, which was great. We both played well and there was great competitiveness."
Compared to Chiragh's barren back-nine, Gleeson studded his with five birdies to swing it his way. Yet, the Aussie, who bears a resemblance to countryman Adam Scott, shuddered at the prospect of playing the final day. "This course is so difficult, I'm too nervous on every hole to be thinking of anything else." After pausing for a moment, he shared a strategy. "If three-quarters of the par-fives can be birdied, then one can try for the medium par-fours. I don't know how else to play this course."
By now, the effect of the missed putts --- there were quite a few of them --- had begun to wear off Chiragh. If earlier the tenor of the conversation centred around, 'I hit a few good shots but couldn't sink the putts', by the time he was ready to step out of the conference room, the talk had shifted to the 'missed putts don't matter now, lets look towards tomorrow'.