It's been a while since the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) witnessed a course record. On Wednesday, when Amardip Sinh Malik bettered the seven-under 65, set by Harendra Gupta at the Emaar MGF PGTI Championship four years ago, by a stroke, there was a buzz at the venue.
Going with the mood, a young reporter walked excitedly up to Malik and after quickly getting over with the convention of asking questions, requested the golfer for his cell-phone number.
"You want my number?" asked Malik. There was a mix of humour and practicality in the tone. He may have ended Day One of the BILT Open as sole leader, but in his five years as a pro, the 25-year-old has acquired the maturity to realise that "one round or a tournament do not define a player".
Ask Malik and he is quick to recall the last edition at the Jaypee Greens.
"I was 10-under (sole second) after the second round but on the weekend everything crashed and I shot ten-over."
Even in the three top-10 finishes he has enjoyed this year, a slippage towards the end has been unmistakable. Add to this, Tuesday's horrific practice round during which he sprayed the ball all over, Malik could not have bargained for the
three-stroke lead over Shamim Khan.
The conditions were not ideal, the course left soft by the unseasonal rains, but Malik revelled in the challenge, something which could not be said about big names like Gaganjeet Bhullar and C Muniyappa, who shot over-par.
"After yesterday's practice, I spent a hour at the range and told myself that I was a good enough player. If I kept the ball in play, things would happen," said Malik.
Despite finding the fairways on Wednesday, the hitting was mediocre but the bailout for Malik lay in his putting. After a relatively quiet front nine (he teed off from the 10th), which contained two birdies, Malik's putter rose to prominence after the turn.
Proof lay in the five birdies and 137-yard eagle on the ninth. The lone blemish was on the seventh when he missed a chip-putt.
Malik harbours fond memories of the course, having registered his first title (All-India Juniors) in 2002, but defending champion Anirban Lahiri is out to prove a point after a couple of near-misses here. He began his campaign strongly and is tied third with a four-under 68.