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Wen-chong strikes twelve

Jeev cards six-under to lie distant second, Randhawa fails to make a mark, reports Robin Bose.

other Updated: Oct 09, 2008 22:39 IST
Robin Bose

The four steps to achievement, according to American scholar William Arthur Ward, are plan purposefully, prepare prayerfully, proceed positively and pursue persistently. Taking the prescribed route, Liang Wen-chong not only reaped the dividend but also received a handsome bonus in the form of a course record at the Delhi Golf Club on Thursday.

Crowned Asia's top player last year, the 30-year-old Chinese, with a victory in the Clariden Leu Singapore Masters and eight other top-10 finishes, was always going to be a force to reckon with in the Hero Honda Indian Open. But resting on laurels is not the genial golfer's way of operating, and aiding him in the exercise of looking ahead is coach Kel Llewellyn. "Besides coaching here once, he (Kel) even played a round, so his experience was very useful," said Liang, after eclipsing Shiv Kapur's course record of 10-under which was set during the AIS Open in April last year, by two strokes.

Teeing off from the back nine, the front nine in his case, with defending champion Jyoti Randhawa, Liang's dream run was in sharp contrast to Randhawa's, whose mid-season slump continued, notwithstanding the DLF Masters title, and was further hampered by poor putting.

If Llewellyn's lessons armed Liang, who picked up four birdies on his front nine, with the wherewithal to remain steadfast "at the tee and looking at the narrow fairways ahead", helping him relax was yoga.

The resident of Zhongshan was engaged in a neck-and-neck race with Jeev Milkha Singh till five holes from the finish. But "drawing extra strength from within", an extraordinary burst saw Liang pick up five consecutive birdies to be 12-under 60, five shots clear of Jeev.

Though done for the day, the need to be persistent beckoned. After signing his score and grabbing a quick bite, Liang was off, to prepare for the morrow on the driving range.

The day was clearly earmarked for bettering the past. Though trailing Liang by a considerable margin, the seven-under 65 had Jeev gushing.

"I am really excited. This bogey-free round is my best at the DGC (The previous was 66). Though not comfortable off the tee, I focussed on process and routine to keep the ball in play and had a lot of good shots, especially from the bunkers. I am five behind but it's not over till the fourth round, " he said.

A stroke adrift of Jeev is the pair of Daniel Chopra, Sanjay Kumar and Chinese Taipei's Lu Wen-teh. Playing conservatively, Chopra, who teed off just after noon, was pleased with the spotless round.

The effort of checking out the progress of the Bangalore Test, in between holes, and trying out a new swing, bore satisfying results for the Swede. "While Zaheer (Khan) getting Michael Clark off the last over was great, I was consistent in my first real competitive round with the new swing. The more I trust it (the swing), it will become a habit for me," he said while stroking the red miniature helmet of the Delhi IPL team, a memento he had desired for.

The surprise package was Sanjay Kumar. "The six birdies I had were the result of good approach shots," said the Lucknow player, managing a smile to match his expansive waistline.