Chapchai time at the resort

Hindustan Times | By, Gurgaon
Mar 21, 2009 12:34 AM IST

After putting to rest the longstanding title jinx at the PGTI Players Championship in Panchkula, Gaganjeet Bhullar spoke of trying out a method. Robin Bose reports.

Sport does not only develop character, it also reveals it. After putting to rest the longstanding title jinx at the PGTI Players Championship in Panchkula, Gaganjeet Bhullar spoke of trying out a method. "I've developed this mindset where the emphasis is on sticking to process without bothering about the returns." The immediate thought was that realisation had dawned on the youngster, but before he could be quizzed on the latest frame of mind, the 20-year-old let out the secret. "On several instances in the past year, I've landed myself in contention on the weekends, but that has weighed on me, causing me to slip.

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"This is where Dr Pradeep Aggarwal (mental trainer and hypnotherapist) has been of immense help. His process deals with the subconscious mind and entails performing small tasks (he was reluctant to elaborate) on the course," he said.

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Carrying forth this "different vision of scoring" at the Classic Golf Resort, Bhullar not only held his own on Friday but also gave himself a semblance of chance to challenge the rampaging Chapchai Nirat in the SAIL Open's finale.

After seeing off the blustery conditions early on, the Kapurthala lad, overnight fourth, opened up with birdies on the 6th and 7th. Attacking the pin positions, the back nine was even more productive with the 12th, 13th, 15th and 18th giving favourable returns. Despite a few missed short putts, the day's six-under and overall 19-under 197 was good enough to hand him the second spot. But there were words of caution. "The endeavour will be on repetition, but the way Nirat is scoring, I'll need a 62 or 63 to do well."

If Bhullar's temperament stood out, at the other end of the spectrum was Anirban Lahiri. Ten-under after Thursday, a shocking six-over caused a fadeout and left the player distraught after he had started joint 10th. "I made too many mistakes early on and there was little scope to recover," he said.

Nirat was regretful too, but for his inability to shoot a 10-under for the third consecutive day. At 27-under 189, the Thai is on course to bettering Ernie Els' Asian Tour record of 29-under at the 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic, Perth, and also has in sight the 31-under by Els on the PGA Tour in the 2004 Mercedes Benz Open, Hawaii, and the 30-under by Daniel Chopra at the 2004 Henrico County Open on the Nationwide Tour. In India, Mukesh Kumar had a winning total of 30-under in the 2005 DDA Open at the Qutub Golf Course.

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    Robin Bose has more than two decades of experience as a sports reporter. He specialises in writing on golf.

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