If the mind is trained to cope with pressure, expectations needn’t pull you down. For someone who tasted success quite early, realisation has dawned late on Rahil Gangjee. The first title on the domestic circuit came in 2003, three years after he turned pro, and soon people were taking note of this stout rookie when he won the 2004 Volkswagen Masters-China on the Asian Tour.
Hope piled up but the shoulders weren’t up to the task. The career hit a low when Gangjee lost the Asian Tour card in 2008. The year rolled over but the emotional baggage stayed. “It was more negative than positive,” said Gangjee.
In a bid to stem the rot, the services of noted psychoanalyst, Pradeep Aggarwal, were enlisted and for the second consecutive day at the Avantha Masters, Gangjee sang paeans on the specialist’s contribution. “He’s helped wipe it (baggage) out. The mind’s a clean slate and everyday it’s about starting on an even keel,” said Gangjee after another solid card that saw him tie for the eighth spot in an unfinished round that was disrupted by hailstorm.
Like Gangjee, the leaderboard underwent change. Displaying a penchant for errors, overnight leader Marcel Siem slipped 11 places and was one-over after 15 holes (overall seven-under). Replacing him was Barry Lane, the clubhouse leader. For someone who has been struggling with the putter, the going at the DLF Golf & Country Club has been solid. Overnight T3, the veteran Englishman came up with another 67. At 10-under 134, Lane shares the top perch with countryman John Parry and Chinese Taipei’s Chan Yih-shin, both of whom were on the final hole when play was abandoned.
“You have to look at the scores from Qatar (Masters) and Dubai (Desert Classic) last week to see that my putting has been horrendously up and down. I decided to figure out what was wrong so I drew a line on the ball I was practicing with and tried to putt it on the line. It was all over the place so I realised that it wasn’t me reading the putt incorrectly but it was having a terrible stroke. I changed the position of my hands a little and it seems to be working,” said Lane, 49, a multiple European Tour champ.
After Thursday’s 67, which left Gangjee T3, the “blackboard had a figure written on it”, hence the mind wasn’t as free. Still, he persisted with the policy of taking it one shot at a time. Finding the fairways with greater regularity and sinking some close putts, he came away unscathed with a 69.
The cut is likely to be applied at one-under or even par and this means barring Jyoti Randhawa, who was 5-under, and Arjun Atwal, the cream of the India — Jeev Milkha Singh, Shiv Kapur, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri — is set to make an exit.