The attentive student that he is, Gaurav Pratap Singh has come to value the late Bobby Jones’s words: “Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course — the distance between your ears.” Having slipped twice this season after being in contention — at the Solaris Chemtech Open in Golden Greens, Gurgaon, and Players Championship in Chandigarh — the lessons have been imbibed. Gone is the pressure of commencing operations as the top-placed player and instead of throwing frequent glances at the leaderboard, the focus is on the craft.
“Slipping from contention has been a learning experience. But I’m playing well and enjoying my game,” he said after coming up with another 70 that widened his lead at the ONGC Masters. At six-under 210, Gaurav is five ahead of veteran Vijay Kumar, who moved up 11 spots with the day’s best card of three-under. Starting T13 with Vijay, Gaurav Ghei too was impressive and a 70 left him a shot adrift of the Lucknow pro.
As if ascertaining his tensile strength, Gaurav started again by bogeying the 4th but rallied to birdie the next and followed it with another on the 8th. A bogey before making the turn was of little consequence as it did little to the Noida Golf Course player’s intensity. Making par till the 13th, Gaurav birdied the 14th and 15th before settling down with three pars in a row.
“I made good up and downs (chip-putts) out of the bunker which not only paid off, it bailed me out as well,” he said referring to the birdie on the 14th and the shot on the 18th which allowed him to par the hole.
210: Gaurav Pratap Singh (70, 70, 70)
215: Vijay Kumar (74, 72, 69)
216: Gaurav Ghei (74, 72, 70); Mandeo Singh Pathania (74, 71, 71)
217: Arjun Singh Chaudhri (67, 75, 75); Vipin Kumar Sharma (74, 71, 72).