Triumph can often lead to a lowering of guard. Kieran Pratt concurs, eyes tightly shut. He is chastened by experience. The 24-year-old from Melbourne had overcome a five-shot deficit to win in a three-way playoff at last year's Myanmar Open. This season, he missed the
"Expectations go up and you hope things will happen on the golf course. They don't, you have to keep working hard," he says. In his fourth season as a pro, Pratt has had his share of upheavals.
The win in Myanmar was nothing short of a comeback after losing his Asian Tour card after 2011. Off he went to Q-School, and after securing his playing rights, it was on to Yangon.
The Aussie did have a couple of other strong finishes last year but the "patches of complacency" that kept creeping in meant things were not to his liking.
The start to this season has been no different - three missed cuts in four outings shows the struggle to hole putts is an ongoing exercise. In this light, the decision to turn out at the Delhi Golf Club after almost two years is a call he took after some thought.
Uppermost on the mind was the "love-hate tales" players keep carrying across shores from these tight fairways. If there was any trepidation as he teed off for the Panasonic Open, the doubts got washed away as the day wore on.
Picking up shots all through, Pratt finished with an eagle to share the lead with fellow Aussie Wade Ormsby and Lam Chih Bing of Singapore. At five-under 67, they are two ahead of SSP Chowrasia.
On his fourth visit to the Capital, it was his best round at the DGC, so the chin was up. “I holed a lot of putts and hit several good shots, everything worked for me today. I played the par-fives well, so guess that was the key."
Pratt would like to believe that Thursday is the outcome of the hard work put in with his coach. From his game, conditioning to nutrition, no area has been left uncovered, but more importantly, it is "remembering to do the little things on the course" that seem to have come handy on Thursday.