Scotsman Ramsay takes sole lead

Widely travelled, Richie Ramsay's subsequent visits to a destination, for golf or holiday, are governed by his memories of the first trip.

A three-stroke cushion behind him after Day Two of the Hero Indian Open, the Scotsman first set foot on Indian soil for the 2010 Avantha Masters (in Gurgaon). His brother, a doctor in Nepal and an old India hand, played a part in influencing Richie to brush aside the effort of crossing the time zone, knowing well about the latter's tendency to "fall asleep all over the place"!

Once the effects of an arduous flight and sleeplessness had worn off, good things got lined up in that week of February. The T14 finish brought with it a euro 21,600 cheque with it. A chord had been struck. That his subsequent attempts in the marquee event drew a blank did not matter. India had got on to Ramsay's list of go-to destinations.

Enjoying the remnants of winter in the national capital or the warmer conditions here, weather too has played a part in firming up his opinion. "When a Scotsman gets the allowance to play in half sleeves, you know he likes it," he remarked.

Turning out at the DLF Golf & Country Club was a learning experience as well. "I realised the greens were not going to be easy for us Europeans as it's difficult to read the line."

The lesson in mind, the 29-year-old knew patience and solid iron-play would be his allies at the Karnataka Golf Association. Starting from the 10th, he birdied the next but thereafter they dried up.

Ramsay knew he was playing well, and aware that rewards lay in store if he hit the fairways regularly, he persevered. It did not demand much as the strategy suited his game.

“If you keep playing like that, sooner or later you'll make something." Lo, he was rewarded on the last five holes --- picking up shots on four of them to post an identical five-under 66.

If India stays "hospitable", many more visits will follow. Quite like Paarl in Western Cape, South Africa, the setting of the South African Open Championship and his first European Tour win.

Going back, with wife Angela this time, will not only bring back memories of that playoff in 2010 against Shiv Kapur, it will be another chance to soak in the breathtaking view of the vineyards.


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