Much as he tried wiping off the beads of sweat, they kept reappearing on the unshaven face. The smile came and went. The exercise had clearly affected Prom Meesawat's affable disposition. Pullovers were a common sight on Friday, but the round under the afternoon sun had taken a toll on the burly physique."I like the cold better than hot and humid conditions as I tend to perspire more," he said in halting English. Nicknamed the 'Big Dolphin', the 27-year-old did address the weighty issue during the off-season, but popular perception has left him unsure of the outcome. "I worked hard by going to the gym. People tell me I've lost weight but I don't think so," he said, the grin reappearing again.
Weight loss or not, pumping iron has helped. “I’ve bulked up because of my muscles.” Prompted by the string of injuries, which slowed him down from 2009 to 2010, the hours spent in the gym have not only left him stronger, his game is on the ascendancy.
A 64 on the second day of the Avantha Masters went a long way in sealing a T6 last week, and a similar card at the Delhi Golf Club on Thursday has hopefully set him up for another strong weekend finish.
The Spartan front nine translated into a comparatively subdued 68, but the spotless card armed him with the confidence to challenge Anirban Lahiri's three-shot lead at the SAIL-SBI Open. "I'll try and give myself more birdie chances on the final day," he said. The putter has been working for the Thai this week, and the recovery on the back nine, which saw him make birdie four times, is a source of encouragement.
Lahiri's error of judgement towards the end, and Meesawat, Scott Barr's late resurgence brought back interest into the contest after the Indian threatened to run away on the penultimate day by opening up a five-shot advantage at one stage.
The lead has been eaten into, but Lahiri knows better than to fret over it. Occupying the mind is the need to go slow. Misjudging the wind on the 15th and 16th led him to drop shots and finish with a 67, and come Saturday, he will be treading cautiously. "I need to take more time to read the conditions." If this and the plan to "shoot one shot better than the rest" come through, he's confident of “pulling through”.