Indian Open golf scores show course can punish small mistakes: Shiv Kapur

Seasoned India golfer Shiv Kapur writes Argentine youngster Emiliano Grillo, the Day 1 leader, cashed in for finding fairways regularly on the tricky course for this tournament.

other sports Updated: Mar 09, 2018 09:43 IST
Shiv Kapur
Shiv Kapur
Hindustan Times
Indian Open golf,Shiv Kapur,Anirban Lahiri
Anirban Lahiri (left) and Shiv Kapur in action during a Skills Challenge ahead of the Hero Indian Open at Dlf Golf and Country Club on March 6.(Getty Images)

I know many of the Indian players who live in the National Capital Territory often play at the Gary Player layout at the DLF Golf and Country Club and should know the dangers it holds. But it was Argentine Emiliano Grillo who tamed the course. This course is tough but not unfair. It expects you to play correctly but if you are slightly off and do not have your ‘A’ game in place, it can make a scorecard look very average. Small mistakes can cost big.

I believe Grillo called his round a ‘perfect one’ and also that his 65 here could well have been a 59 elsewhere. He found the fairways and rolled in those putts really well.

The other player who was impressive was Ajeetesh Sandhu, whose 4-under 68 was the best Indian card. I was talking to some other players who said he was nearly flawless. Jeev Milkha Singh was speaking very highly of him. He has seen him and plays with him in Chandigarh and with his experience he knows it all. Also, Jeev played with Sandhu and will do so on Friday too.

On this course, the two key aspects are finding the fairways and then making the putts, especially when you are in the 10-15 foot range. Both Grillo and Sandhu seemed to have done that.

When I heard about the 65, I was astounded, but on hindsight, the conditions were excellent for scoring today. There was no wind and players should have taken advantage. Those who did will sleep happy tonight, but I am not one of them.

On this course, when things are rolling for you, there are a bunch of birdies coming up together. That’s what did the trick for all the guys who scored low. Grillo had eight birdies and he made only one bogey.

Pablo Larrazabal, who almost missed his tee time – before making a dash to the course – had nine birdies, including five in a row at one stage, and Matteo Manassero, who did well at this course last year, seems to have remembered all the pitfalls at this course and he stayed clear of them.

Getting birdies is tough enough, so when you give away a bogey, that hurts. That’s also the aspect where Ajeetesh scored. He had only five birdies compared to nine each from Larrazabal and Matteo, but Sandhu gave away just one bogey.

While Grillo had a perfect round, I had nothing close to it. Four bogeys and no birdies for a 76. On any given day, if you have 6-7 chances between 15-20 feet on the green you generally have a 2-3 falling, but it was not to be. It was a day when I had just blue and black on the scorecard and no reds (birdies).

(The author is a professional Indian golfer who plays in the Asian Tour.)

First Published: Mar 09, 2018 08:59 IST