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Mukesh smells blood

The three blemishes may have been a slight dampener, but the eight birdies have already left Mukesh smelling blood, reports Robin Bose.

other Updated: Feb 13, 2009 12:47 IST
Robin Bose

Devoid of emotion, Mukesh Kumar's slight nod meant the man was at his expressive best. En route to the tournament office to submit his result, the unassuming player was stopped by upcoming talent C Muniyappa. "Dada, thok diya (You've done in the opposition)," he said referring to the card of five-under. The response may have been insignificant but Mukesh was acutely aware of the position of strength he had landed himself in.

A two-stroke lead going into the final day of the Solaris Chemtech Open means the man from Mhow fancies his chances of driving home the advantage. Eleven-under 205 may have sent the confidence soaring but the script was quite different at the start of Thursday. Tied fourth at six-under, the aim was to persevere and strive for the leader group. But alongside, was the lurking fear that his game may not measure up to expectations.

In came Dinesh Raghuvanshi, and his tip ensured that Mukesh will be putting for dough at the Golden Greens Golf and Country Club on Friday. "He (Dinesh) told me this morning that I was not completing the follow-through while putting. I did his bidding and the results are there for all to see," said Mukesh.

The three blemishes may have been a slight dampener, but the eight birdies have already left Mukesh smelling blood. "If I play like this tomorrow, there'll be no stopping me. I have a plan in place for the first nine holes, thereafter it'll be as per the situation," he said.

If he wins, Mukesh will prove a point or two to himself, not to the world (he insists), but the man tailing him intends to take tomorrow as it comes. Gaurav Pratap Singh's intent was to soak in the enormity of the occasion — commencing the final day with the leader group for the first time in his brief professional career.

"I've not given it a thought," were his words. With the momentum going, the ploy is to concentrate on form alone. Though he was "unable to sink several of them" despite putting well, there was no dearth of positives.