There was an air of gay abandon about Amardip Sinh Malik as he sauntered up to the 18th green. Swinging a goodie bag, he ran a quick glance over the leaderboard. The promising professional had had a bad round and taking note of the plummeting scores, he shared an anecdote, which summed up the day.As is the practice, the last two days of the DLF Masters have amateurs pairing up with pros for the team championship. Malik ended with a 76, which got his teammate talking. "When an amateur tells you that he has a better card than yours, you know it is a bad day for the pros," he said.
Anirban Lahiri would have seconded Malik's remark. Enjoying a comfortable three-stroke lead after the 6th, the overnight leader went into a spin, which proved to be ruinous, and left him in a state where all he could do was smile wryly.
With little to extricate, Lahiri pulled out yellow balls towards the end. "There is no harm in having some fun," he said.
The facade cracked, eventually. Making his way to the clubhouse, Lahiri suddenly pulled out a glove and slapped himself on the thigh. Watching the act from the corner of an eye was Himmat Rai.
A stickler for method, things had not gone to plan for him either, having set out with a 70 in mind, but the even-par round was enough to hand him the winner's cheque of Rs15,35,675.
Though the road to coronation wasn't smooth, but all that the jolts (read bogeys on the 13th and 17th) did to Himmat was to make him look at the leaderboard on the penultimate hole. Normally, I don't look at the scores, but after bogeying the penultimate, I felt the 18th demanded it.
The lead was down to a shot, yet Himmat did not feel the need to let it rip. "I realised it (the lead) was enough and decided to lay-up," he said.
Perfectly placed, Himmat holed the short putt and pumped the fist in quiet celebration, thankful for the momentum acquired on the 9th and 14th. Watching the proceedings was Rashid Khan, who made a surprising surge to the second spot with Saturday's only sub-par round (a 68).
The cheque of Rs10,60,675 was probably more than he had bargained for but Himmat's par putt snuffed out the hopes of adding to his kitty via a playoff.