Shiv Kapur clinches Panasonic Open title by three strokesNovember 6, 2017
NEW DELHI: Shiv Kapur must have imagined walking down the 18th hole of Delhi Golf Club, soaking in the adulation and applause as any winner would, a thousand times before. He probably did not think about it at the beginning of this week, though.
“I’m not the favourite so I will treat it like a stroll in the park and have a little fun,” the home boy had announced to laughter in the pre-tournament new conference of the $400,000 Panasonic Open India. The reason behind this statement was he had missed the last two Asian Tour events because of a relapse of dengue fever, spent days in bed last week, and managed to practise only 14 holes in the past one month.
Chasing that elusive title at DGC, he had resorted to ‘reverse psychology’, trying to playfully tease the course he had grown upon. It worked on the opening day when his seven-under 65 was only overshadowed by a soaring Ajeetesh Sandhu. But being in contention in front of a home crowd brings its own pressure.
A calm Kapur hung on. Staying one stroke behind the leader Paul Peterson in the second round, he jumped into joint lead on the penultimate day, a 30-foot eagle putt on the 18th after the American’s chip-in a testimony to the 35-year-old’s resilience.
The nerves were there, he woke up in the middle of the night but come Sunday morning, he was feeding his baby girl Veda, playing with her toys before suddenly realizing it was time to head for the course.
That timely distraction may have worked for a while but it was the 10thhole bogey that inspired the ephiphany. The three-putt hiccup worked to his advantage. “Suddenly I had a realization that I had to take proceedings by the scruff of the neck and I started playing more aggressive. That is my natural game, and once I stray from it, I can find myself getting back into a shell. That is what I had to break away from.”
Falling behind, he went for the flags and it paid dividends. Birdies followed on the 11th, 12th, 14th and 15th as he left the others in the wake, building a three-stroke lead.
Chiragh Kumar and opening-day leader Ajeetesh Sandhu were back in the clubhouse with cards of 64 and 65 respectively to finish at 14-under. SSP Chawrasia failed to reach his goal of 7-under for the day with a 69, his round dotted with five birdies and two bogeys. Leftie Peterson, the only foreigner expected to spoil the Indians’ party, got a mere one-under.