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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Rashid Khan on the rise after slump

Rashid Khan had the option of skipping the initial stages of Q-School and going to the final stage in December, but he chose not to.

other-sports Updated: Sep 12, 2019 23:35 IST
Robin Bose
Robin Bose
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A file photo of golfer Rashid Khan.
A file photo of golfer Rashid Khan. (Twitter)

When Rashid Khan got on to the Asian Tour in 2013 through qualifying school, one of his strengths was course management and that played a part in the two wins in 2014. The considerable time spent criss-crossing the continent and beyond, playing in different conditions and golf courses, got Rashid better at strategy and wiser with scheduling.

When he lost his Tour card at the start of the year after a slump in 2018, he wasn’t overly worried. “When you have nothing, it leads you to think out of the box,” said the 28-year-old after finishing Day 1 of the Classic Golf & Country Club International Championship four shots off the lead and the second-best Indian at four-under 68.

Being a previous winner, Rashid had the option of skipping the initial stages of Q-School and going to the final stage in December, but he chose not to. The lessons from 2013 came handy. By playing just five events that year, four of which were at home and he finished top four in two, Rashid sealed his Tour card for 2014.

Experience and prudence were at play. “There was no point spending $3,500 travelling to Thailand for final stage Q-School when I could play the same number of events on a country spot (his current status),” said Rashid. Staying back, he focussed on the PGTI, and with world ranking points being approved from January, Rashid is the highest-ranked Indian at 333, after Gaganjeet Bhullar, Shubhankar Sharma and Anirban Lahiri, without a card on an international tour.

Not only has Rashid not finished beyond 10th in as many starts on the domestic tour, a top-10 at the Indian Open and sole third in Bangladesh have placed him 38th on the Asian Tour’s order of merit (the top 60 keep their card) and is well on his way to travelling overseas extensively again. “If I could do it in 2013 (seal my Tour card), why not this year,” said Rashid.

First Published: Sep 12, 2019 23:35 IST