"Please be patient, I've a lot of people to thank." Manav Jaini was barely able to mention his family and coach, Nonita Lall Qureshi, before the occasion and emotion got the better of him.
The voice trailed off, and veering away from the microphone, the burly figure surged towards the frail gentleman seated in the front row.
After an embrace, rather prolonged as both men took time to ward off the tears, Manav guided his 87-year-old grandfather towards the battery of lensmen. Ensuring SL Jaini's bony fingers were wrapped around the trophy, Manav supported the drooping shoulders before giving the go-ahead.
Manav, leading 3 Up, play the final-18 of the 36-hole final of the SRF All-India Matchplay Championship, Jaini Sr had to wait a while before a cart was made available. "We can always walk," he said in his eagerness to catch the action.
The sentiment was not lost on Manav. "I wanted him to see me win," he said. The disappointment of missing out in the Indian Open (T3), SAIL Open (4th) and Panasonic Open (T2) rankles but the 27-year-old is thankful. "I'm glad it hurts, otherwise there would be no incentive to work hard." Friday's tough semifinal against Mithun Perera was another learning experience. The change of plan worked. Not only did he stay in the lead throughout, being solid off the tee-box forced Ashok to change strategy. From a conservative approach in the morning, the top seed changed track and resorted to making birdie but, let down by his putter, conceded the match on the 14th (5&4).