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Keeping it simple under pressure

other Updated: Feb 18, 2012 01:36 IST
Robin Bose
Robin Bose
Hindustan Times
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Life or golf, Shamim Khan keeps it simple. In a sport which can send the mind into a tizzy, especially with the advent of new-age gurus and concepts, taking to the course sans any "cutting edge" paraphernalia comes like a whiff of fresh air.

Unlike several of his ilk, boisterous colours have no place in Shamim's wardrobe, and instead of vociferous cries of acknowledgement, the odd nod of the head is the only sign of recognition he displays.


Keeping communication to the minimum is to shut out extraneous pressure. In case, anxiety sets in after a fruitful round, Shamim feels he's equipped to handle.

“It (pressure) is a relative term and tends to feed off fear," he says. It wasn’t a random statement — the words were borne out of experience.

At six-under 138, the tag of being the best Indian on display had come to rest with him, and Anirban Lahiri, but instead of reflecting on the 2008 Johnnie Walker Classic — where he slipped into oblivion after finishing the opening day as leader, and wince — he chose to deflect all talk of pressure directed at him. “If I feel the heat, it will only be because of you (reporters) reminding me of it," he laughed.

Sobering down, the 33-year-old shared his weekend plan.

Being four shots off the leader, Peter Whiteford, at joint seventh, Shamim has some catching up to do. But rather than throwing uneasy glances at the leaderboard, he expects to plough on, head bowed.

It was the momentum of four consecutive birdies that got him going on Friday, and given the responsiveness of the putter, Shamim is hoping for a repeat act on Day III of the Avantha Masters.

Lest his campaign be attributed only to sound putting, he clarified, “Only good driving can leave you in a position from where you can putt well.”

The familiarity with the DLF Golf & Country Club is another boon, and allowed him to make light of the blustery conditions.

“One plays around 12 tournament rounds in a year here, so the knowledge of the layout and the clubs to pull out is already there.”