'Miracle' man Kiyota
Gurgaon, March 1
Staying away from a passion can often whet appetite for a renewal.
After a mediocre stint with the Asian Tour in the mid-90s, Mark Brown gave up golf and immersed himself in a new profile as junior development officer at the Wellington Golf Association. Watching children swing their clubs reignited the spark and Brown staged a blazing return to the Tour last year under the guidance of Mal Tongue.
The tutelage of New Zealand's leading swing coach not only helped Brown make waves, it also instilled the confidence that "what he was being taught was simple and correct and would hold up under pressure".
After last week's triumph at the SAIL Open, the assurance is fast turning into belief as the 33-year-old held his own with an eight-under to head into the final day placed perfectly to challenge Taichiro Kiyota's 14-under one stroke lead.
Clubbed with the Kiwi, Jyoti Randhawa kept up with his "persistent knocking" and the four-under for the day left him expectant that the "door could open" on the morrow. After promising much, Shiv Kapur fell away on Saturday and will commence the finale tied seventh.
Despite the "mind not obeying" at times after playing for the longest stretch in his career, Randhawa was pleased to be where he was despite a bogey on the 4th, pulling the tee shot on the 13th and firing another bad one at the16th. The player was quick to pinpoint the area that required attention. "The key is to be focused on the shot while at it and not before or after it."
Randhawa was involved in an interesting duel with Kiyota on the final hole with the two tied with Brown at 13-under. While the Japanese rose from a spot of bother to gift himself a birdie and the top perch, Randhawa managed a par and came away praising the opponent for his discipline and "learning from his wedge shot and the areas he himself needed to work at".
Though hindered by language barrier, the amiable journeyman from the Far East made it clear through his body language and an interpreter that "he was in for a sleepless night" after finding himself in this situation for the first time in his five-year professional career.
After a steady start, the ardent Tiger Woods fan floundered with a bogey on the 5th but an eagle on the next set him on a path from where there was no looking back.
As the 27-year-old shared his fascination for cricket after watching India take on the might of the Aussies on the tube, at the far end of the putting range was the lone figure of Brown. Feeling at home, the Kiwi plied his craft with dexterity. After all, here was a man who had fired two eagles in his day's card and looked eager to further his cause by putting into practice the saying "an eagle on the course is prettier than the one in the sky".
Ghei disqualified for moving the ball
From the ecstasy of shooting a sublime third round to the agony of being penalized for the previous day's inadvertent slip, Gaurav Ghei experienced both shades of emotions.
After an inspiring seven-under had placed him amongst the leaders with an overall nine-under, John Paramor, chief referee, European Tour announced that Ghei had been disqualified.
"I received a text message from one of my colleagues who had been watching the coverage the previous evening and he noted that Gaurav's ball had moved on the 18th as a result of him putting his club behind the ball to assess the lie having taken relief from the cart path. Unfortunately, no one in the immediate area saw the ball move but on reviewing the TV pictures, the ball does move a very small distance. So he is penalized for the ball moving. If it had been noted before he played the next stroke, it would have been just a one-stroke penalty had he replaced it. He failed to replace it so that would have meant a total penalty of two that was not added to the second round score. So, he signed for a score lower than was actually taken and is disqualified from the second round," Paramor said in a statement.
Asked why action had not been initiated earlier, the chief referee replied, "By the time the TV compound was alive this morning and by the time I got there and reviewed it, Gaurav was already playing on the 18th.
An upset Ghei, who had finished at par on Thursday, said, "It's deeply disappointing and it's a shame that all the people around and the referee did not spot the incident near the 18th green."