Kieffer goes all the way, Gangjee second
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Kieffer goes all the way, Gangjee second

Aggressive approach takes 33-year-old to playoff at Gujarat Kensville Challenge.

other Updated: Jan 30, 2012 01:30 IST
Robin Bose
Robin Bose
Hindustan Times

History had come visiting, but rather than tiptoe away, enveloped in grief, Rahil Gangjee showed he had learned to face adversity head-on.

No sooner did his second shot hit the lip of the bunker and bounce into the stream, the onus was on Maximilian Kieffer. All that the German required was par to ensure that his second appearance in a play-off on the European Challenge Tour wasn’t a repeat of last year’s Allianz Challenge de France.

Self-destructing through the final day of the 2010 Avantha Masters, Gangjee had left his well-wishers aghast, and instead of seeking solace in their company, the overnight leader slunk away from the DLF Golf & Country Club, shunning even those who tried to extend a comforting hand.

The Gujarat Kensville Challenge did not figure in his plans at the start of the year and the invite from the organisers was a surprise.

The winner’s cheque of euro 32,000 eluded him, but the temperament stood the test, and wife, Maithreyi, was the first to acknowledge it as she rushed towards him after he stepped off the 18th green. Arm-in-arm, the two walked to the clubhouse in the midst of rapturous applause.

Doubts, if any, that the act was made up, were quickly dispelled as Gangjee happily posed with wide-eyed youngsters and signed autographs. The hours spent with mental trainer, Pradeep Aggarwal, have taught him to shun repentance.

“There are no regrets. I picked all the right shots and if I didn’t execute them, that’s because I’m human,” said Gangjee, happy that in the absence of a sponsor, he would be able to plough back the euro 22,000 to fuel his American dream.

Aggression on the course is one of the lessons learnt on the Nationwide Tour, and Gangjee was firm that nothing could come between him and his desire. Not even the back-to-back bogeys on the 15th and 16th, which allowed Kieffer to catch up after being three shots down.

“If you’re not aggressive, you’re never going to win,” he said, looking straight in the eye.

The dropped shot on the 16th did make the going tough as the tough pin positions forced him to curb his belligerence. Still, the focus was on the regimen. Asked if he had an eye on the leaderboard, he replied, “Max was never the focus. Going deeper (scoring low) was all I was concerned about.”

First Published: Jan 29, 2012 23:04 IST