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HindustanTimes Sun,26 Oct 2014

Other Sport

New strategy keeps Gangjee going
Robin Bose, Hindustan Times
Ahmedabad, February 01, 2013
First Published: 23:08 IST(1/2/2013)
Last Updated: 01:50 IST(2/2/2013)

The Royal Calcutta Golf Club or Tollygunge Club, is of little significance. Both are “home” to Rahil Gangjee.

So, when a nine-under 63 came along, it was euphoria he had seldom experienced. That was two years ago at the Players Championship, but the events thereafter were almost life changing for the diminutive golfer.

The head was still spinning when he teed off the next day but the elation caused him to crash land.

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The over-par round not only spoiled his title chances in that event, realisation dawned that he needed to develop the ability to “blank it out”.

The habit of making notes was already there — he had got into jotting down statistics since his junior days — Gangjee and his mental trainer started work on teeing off each day with a clean slate.

High or low, the outcome was to be of little significance when he teed off the next day.

Fresh start
The memories of last year's Gujarat Kensville Challenge are varied — finishing runner-up was a plus but he's also lived with the pain of surrendering the title in the playoff.

The recent endeavour and the turmoil of “hitting rock bottom” on the Web.com Tour (previously the Nationwide Tour) in the US have toughened him and Gangjee feels he can claim that each day at the Kensville Golf and Country Club will be a fresh beginning.

The events seem to have gone to script so far with the Kolkatan building on the even-par round with a three-under 69 on Friday.

There may be a five-stroke difference separating him and Andrew McArthur of Scotland, but Gangjee, at tied eighth, is unwilling to look beyond his game.

While working on the strategy of starting afresh, care has been taken that the experience of playing at a venue does not get smudged.

It is this ability that Gangjee will be relying on as he attempts to close in. Birdies on the 8th, 9th and 11th on consecutive days point towards Gangjee's mental jottings — be it a tight tee shot or a putt on the undulating greens here.

Still, there is room for improvement. “The ball-striking wasn't great nor was my course management,” but he stays thankful for the long putts for birdie on both days, again a result of the new strategy, for keeping him in contention.


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