Unlike the disquiet Kiradech Aphibarnrat felt, after waking up on Tuesday, to the realisation that he had a title to defend this week, Manav Jaini has been starting his day with a preoccupied mind for a while now.
The stint on the Asian Tour anything but satisfactory last season, the promising golfer got to work during the break, only to understand that the road ahead is winding.
His average drive touching 264 yards, Jaini feels the acute need to hit the ball higher on Tour. "Courses in Thailand, Malaysia are undulating and the conditions soft (due to incessant rain), as a result one can't depend on the ball to roll," said the 28-year-old.
The lower ball flight and softer fairways translated into it (ball) landing short of what he would have liked. Not only did the anomaly curb his chance of making birdies, the inability to turn in sub-par rounds regularly overseas started to play on the mind. The agitation is understandable as out of nine appearances outside the country, Jaini managed to get on to the money list just twice.
"Not only was I losing out on driving distance, a long course was playing longer. I tried hard but ended focussing on this aspect, and not playing golf," he said. The four-week break in December-January led him to analyse, but the corrective measures will have to wait. "As most of the major (international) events are at home, making changes to the swing or equipment at this juncture makes little sense. I'll wait till the summer break to get refitted (in the US)," said Jaini.
The worry persists, but this week, Jaini will be reflecting on his recent good run at the Delhi Golf Club. The confidence up after making the cut at the Avantha Masters, Jaini will be looking to replicate last year's showing (4th) when he tees off for the SAIL-SBI Open on Wednesday.
The relief of returning to familiar territory was apparent. Discounting the challenge of the foreign contingent, Jaini chirped happily, "There is no competition, but that's provided we (Indians) can fight it out between the ears."