It isn’t as if his oratory skills need improvement. Khalin Joshi isn’t a stranger to the spotlight. Working his way up as a top junior to settle as the country’s No 1 amateur till last year, Khalin is used to being shaken out of a state of attentiveness. He’s lost count of the occasions when he’s been accosted on his way to the scorers.
The journey from the green to the clubhouse is spent adding up the numbers, the head bowed and the gaze fixed on the scorecard. Procedure has it that player comments be reserved after the card is submitted but there are many who remain oblivious.
It has come with time but the strapping 20-year-old now knows when to share his thoughts and ward off an ill-timed query with a “later”, his emotions firmly in check irrespective of the day’s outcome.
So, a quiet shut of the eyelids was hardly an indication of the upsurge as he claimed a share of the lead with Chapchai Nirat at the SAIL-SBI Open. Surrounded at the annexe of the Delhi Golf Club (DGC), it was a brave attempt as Khalin chose to look straight at his questioners, showing little signs of the churn inside. There was the occasional stutter, but it wasn’t a spillover of a dream beginning to his maiden Asian Tour event.
Yes, it was excitement, but it emanated from putting into practice the advice from senior pros. With time, Anirban Lahiri, who practices in Bangalore too, and Gaganjeet Bhullar have shared their transition with Khalin and the importance of consistency.
“The competition in amateur ranks is relatively watered down, one can recover from a bad round. That’s not the case as a professional. Staying steadfast is a must,” said Khalin.
The course record (62) at the par-72 Karnataka Golf Association (KGA), where he plies his trade, is in Khalin’s name, and given its quaintness there was a tendency to relate Wednesday’s round at the DGC to his familiarity with such courses.
“Not at all,” the voice hadn’t an iota of doubt. “I’ve never left the driver out of my bag, but today was a first.” He had acknowledged the tight fairways of the DGC but the six-under 66 told the tale of a day well spent.