Taking baby steps towards regaining full playing rights on the European Tour, nothing works better for SSP Chowrasia than keeping it simple. Missing a given putt for birdie on the 18th, which would have given him a share of the clubhouse lead with Spain's Pablo Larrazabal, was reason enough for a creased forehead but Chowrasia reacted otherwise.
Unmoved, he finished with par and then brought on the schoolboy smile to go with the mandatory series of handshakes.
Asked if acknowledging the applause from the marquee stand for landing his third shot close to the pin had swayed the focus, he replied, “I got some and missed some, that’s expected,” the grin refusing to go.
Taking the uncomplicated route since playing 30 holes on Friday, appears to have worked for the 32-year-old at the Avantha Masters. “I was tired and hitting the bed early helped as I was up refreshed before sunrise,” he said.
The wait at the DLF Golf & Country Club on Saturday was longer than he would have liked but even while standing on the 1st tee under a mild afternoon sun, the words going through the mind were, “Avoid making bogey, the birdies will follow.”
The first step towards achieving the ends was finding the centre of the fairway. This coupled with solid putting meant he opened with a birdie and ensured the exercise kept repeating itself. “I do start with a score in mind but after tee-off I take it hole-by-hole,” he said.
As is wont, the highs and lows were there but be it the two dropped shots on either side or the near miss for a hole-in-one on the 16th, Chowrasia took them in his stride en route to a 67. The level headed approach saw him climb 12 spots and rest at T3 with Sujjan Singh and Rafa Echenique of Argentina.
For Sujjan, who earned his Asian Tour card for the season through qualifying school, it was patience and a hot putter that made the difference. Going into this week, the 30-year-old pulled out a putter that had been gathering dust for two years and the results led him to realise his folly.
“I was foolish not to change it (putter) earlier as it was testing my patience too,” he remarked after carding a 68 that allowed him to climb seven spots.
The 90-minute fog delay again meant that the likes of Jeev Milkha Singh had a spillover.
A bogey on the 13th caused the Indian to slip to T6 but will look to make amends.