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Gaurav drives his way to top

other Updated: Nov 20, 2009 00:12 IST
Robin Bose
Robin Bose
Hindustan Times
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Gaurav Pratap Singh is not known to live in the world of sobriety. Call it the exuberance of youth or brashness, the 25-year-old has been the butt of jokes in the past for utterings like: “Click me, I’m the one who’s gonna win,” or “Here I come, etch my name on the trophy”. But the ongoing work on “mental thinking” has got him to appreciate Pythagoras’s words: “Strength of mind rests in sobriety, for this keeps your reason unclouded by passion.”

Gone was the swagger on Thursday, and even after settling atop the scorer’s sheet, Gaurav chose to place his performance at the ONGC Masters in perspective.

“I have been striking the ball well for a while, but its now that the scores have started to come,” he said after carding a two-under for the second consecutive day. At four-under 140, the two-stroke lead assumes significance given the high degree of difficulty laid out by the Noida Golf Course — just six players returned sub-par cards today and the cut was applied at an unusually high seven-over, allowing 55 pros to pass through.

The day again had the local pros holding sway with apart from Gaurav, a second-placed Toran Bikram Shahi and overnight leader Arjun Singh Chaudhri emerging as the main players.

“Given the way the course is playing, I knew a two-under for the day would take me close to the lead and set me up for the next two days,” said Gaurav.

Backed by a changed outlook, which has been instrumental in the four top-10s this season, and the realization that familiar conditions would bail him out of trouble, Gaurav broke no sweat when he bogeyed the 4th but instead went on to birdie the 5th and 7th. Despite dropping a shot on the 10th, he continued to hit the ball close and the persistence resulted in birdies on the 12th and 16th. There was a chance to make eagle on the 14th but the missed putt from nine feet meant the sturdy golfer had to make do with birdie.