The unforgiving ways of the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) can have a lasting impact on the mind and soul. So, it is normal for the tormented to complain on how this course showers its benevolence on a chosen few.
Till the Panasonic Open, his breakthrough win on the Asian Tour, Anirban Lahiri was an integral part of these discussions. After 2011, he crossed over, and even after last year's triumph at the SAIL-SBI Open, he hasn't stopped ruminating. The years of struggle had instilled a dread of the dense vegetation, a facet he wasn't ashamed to share in his moment of glory.
Lahiri still looks over the shoulder, but there is no scorn, he has an advice or two for those looking for deliverance.
"It's about figuring out what works for you. After struggling, I've figured it out," said Lahiri. For him, it's "respecting the course and putting it in play".
Keep ball in play
Siddikur, who finished the penultimate day with a one-shot lead over Lahiri, also seems to have figured it out. "Keeping the ball in play," he said after shooting an identical four-under 68 for the third day in a row. The golfer from Bangladesh can say it with conviction, as DGC has been kind to him - a creditable fifth at last year's SAIL-SBI Open preceding the 2nd in the Panasonic Open.
It's home, well almost, save that the thick shrubs remind him that he's away from the Kurmitola Golf Club, his home course in Dhaka. Other than Siddikur's familiarity with the conditions, Lahiri is also aware that the diminutive player carries a tenacious spirit, which seems to blossom while playing here. Trailing by two when he set afoot on the 18th green, Lahiri knew what he had to do. By holing the crucial 12-foot birdie putt, he set the basis for the final morning on Saturday.
Overnight T7, Lahiri got the impetus he needed by picking up three shots on the front nine. His comfort level on the greens at its highest so far, he also had Shiv Kapur to thank for the flawless round of 66.
Shiv was off to an electric start too before slipping somewhat, but his presence - "I always looked up to him," was good enough to keep Lahiri going. Rivalry was there all right, but the banter ensured that it did not get intense.