His hitting gone awry and the putter turning cold, two-over after four holes meant the road ahead was fraught with danger, yet Anirban Lahiri held on, drawing strength from a tale he keeps referring to.
"There was a mechanic who kept tinkering with his car's engine but could never muster the courage to race," he said. "The moral was irrespective of the outcome, keeping heart was mandatory. One had to make a beginning somewhere, couldn't have waited for things to get better."
Though he enjoys a two-shot cushion over Himmat Rai, the round of 74 left him shaken. "That'll have to wait as a lot needs to be done before tomorrow (the final day of the DLF Masters)," he said.
The wind continuing to threaten at the DLF Golf & Country Club - taking off and dying down in cycles, adding to the woes were the inaccessible pins. "Since they were placed at spots not frequently used, it was a struggle to get the speed right," said Lahiri. His natural instinct to attack gnawing at him constantly, Lahiri went all out and paid the price. "Such were the pin positions that if one attacked and missed, the repercussions were harsh," he said.
Disaster appeared to be written all over the plot as, along with the conditions, Lahiri's clubs and craft too proved to be deadweight. Twin bogeys within the opening four holes attested as proof.
A steadying effect was the need, and making par for the remaining part of the front-nine restored a semblance of order. Soon after making the turn, the situation appeared to get out of hand with the bogey on the 11th. Cheer was instilled briefly as he birdied the 14th but the dropped shot immediately after had him flailing to maintain the top spot.
Saving a shot on the 18th was a respite, but the turmoil he had been witness to left Lahiri gawking awkwardly at the sub-par scores. "Such cards in these conditions, amazing," he quipped, the gaze coming to settle on the 66 stencilled against Gaurav Pratap Singh's name.