It’s hardly been three months since he turned professional, but Khalin Joshi can already talk about a change in approach.
It was a habit during his amateur days, but gone is the tendency to pull out the three-wood, especially if the course encouraged the use of longer clubs, and letting it rip. “(As an amateur), knowing that the competition was amongst a few, freed the mind,” said Khalin.
His overnight one-shot joint lead intact at the SAIL-SBI Open, hope floats for the 20-year-old. A stroke adrift are Siddikur and Rashid Khan, who carded the day’s best of eight-under 64.
Earlier, a two-under for the day was enough to send Khalin “over the moon”, now, the focus is on “percentage golf” — hitting fairways and greens in regulation. The tempering is marked.
“You tend to protect your score, as up against 120 (pros), there are many who can get past you.” A 69 on Thursday placed him at nine-under 135 with Chan Kim. And if playing at the Delhi Golf Club, a player is bound to go slow.
Whenever he’s in town, senior pro Manav Jaini plays host to Khalin. Apart from enjoying the hospitality, the young man has listened attentively whenever Manav shared his years of turning out at this quaint venue.
Keeping the ball in play is the thumb rule and one that the youngster has imbibed well.
What he did not implement was the long-standing advice of keeping the driver out of the bag. Possibly, it was linked to his intrinsic aggression.
Khalin would attribute it to maturity, the advice has been heeded this week.
The flag positions tougher on the second day, his putting wasn’t as pleasing, but he chose to “stay normal” and did not “feel the pressure”.
After a birdie-bogey run on the front nine, an eagle and birdie were elevating, but Khalin stayed unmoved. He wasn’t looking at the scoreboard. “It doesn’t help.”
(Cut applied at two-over 146)