The text message on a “job well done” may not have assuaged the pain of the narrow miss, his second in the less than 10 months, but Mahela Jayawardene’s SMS and the subsequent phone call after Mithun Perera finished a stroke short of Chawalit Plaphol was proof of the Sri Lankan’s fast-growing reputation in his country and on the Asian Tour.
Playing on a country spot last season, it was his scorching run on the final day of the Singapore Classic in April last that saw him being taken note of, and though he got just eight starts, they were enough to secure his full card for 2013.
The smiling demeanour is a perfect camouflage, but the disappointment of finishing second-best to Scott Hend was still alive when Plaphol pipped him to the post, again by a shot, in the Myanmar Open. The breakthrough win is yet to come, but the solid results have done their bit to propel the 26-year-old into the league of serious contenders. So, sharing the head table with Jeev Milkha Singh on the eve of the $300,000 Panasonic Open did not come as a surprise.
He wasn’t a part of the group that was to grace the marquee area, but the sudden spotlight wasn’t unsettling, and Mithun pulled off the session with élan, even matching Jeev in his analysis of the Delhi Golf Club (DGC).
The numerous sessions with Jayawardene, at the Royal Colombo Golf Club and off it, have taught him to stay rooted. The son of a government official, Jayawardene’s humility is appealing and Mithun, a three-time winner on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), is learning the art of staying in the present.
Also endearing is the former Sri Lanka cricket captain’s push to promote golf in the nation. The efforts of Mahela and like-minded aficionados have seen the island bag two events on the PGTI this season.
Mithun’s foray into areas outside his comfort zone has a charm of its own but this week it will about drawing from memory. The unseasonal rain may have left the DGC playing “differently” but its intrinsic nature remains unchanged.
“The short course suits my style of play,” he said.