Randhawa keeps knocking, hoping the door will open soon

February 29th, 2008 - 3:19 pm ICT by admin  

By V. Krishnaswamy
Gurgaon, Feb 29 (IANS) Clad in all black, the colour of the sponsors, Johnnie Walker, Jyoti Randhawa was all smiles and brimming with confidence after shooting a flawless seven-under 65 that carried him to the top of the leaderboard early in the second round of the Johnnie Walker Classic Friday. Randhawa was nine-under 135, the same position as he was in at the midway stage of the SAIL Open last week, where he ended second.

“It’s a good position to be in. (But) I haven’t been able to hang on it the last few tournaments. It’s good that I keep knocking at the door and sometimes it opens. Just keep being patient and just keep doing it and see what happens,” said the 36-year-old Randhawa, who has won five of his seven Asian Tour titles at home.

But something that he is not thinking too much about is his rising world ranking. Currently 77th, he could go further up and with two more joint-sanctioned events in Malaysia and Korea, he has a chance of hitting the top-50. If he does so, he will join Jeev Milkha Singh at the Augusta Masters this year.

Randhawa has had some great rounds last few weeks. He shot a 65 on first day at Emaar-MGF Indian Masters, then had a 66 and 62 on the weekend in Jakarta and started with a 67 in first round at SAIL Open, followed it up with 65 in second round here.

Randhawa, who was disappointed with his round on first day, said: “I think I putted quite well. I hit a few good iron shots, too. Yesterday the putting wasn’t that hot, and today it got hot and I made a lot of (good) putts. That was the key.”

Yet, when someone pointed out that he managed just one birdie on the par-fives, he was surprised. “Really? Oh I didn’t see that. Then I need birdies tomorrow on the par-fives,” he added with a laugh.

Randhawa had seven birdies and some great saves, including a 10-footer after hitting water on the par-five 18th. His putting, chipping and hitting all seemed to fall in the groove as he strung together a great round. His putts included a great 15-footer on fifth and a 12-footer on seventh.

Talking of expectations while playing at home, Randhawa was candid: “I guess it is just expectations. You’re playing in your country and people expect you to play well; you expect to play well and before you know it, you play and you start scoring and start seeing the leaderboard and before you know it, you could be two-under or three-over.

“That’s what I did today. I just tried to play the game. I just wanted to go out there and have fun and do the best that I could with my game.”

One of the features of Randhawa’s 2008 season has been his plan to play long stretches. When asked about his plan to play nine weeks in a row - this is the seventh - he laughed and said: “I’m trying to keep up with Jeev. If one countryman can do it, so can the other.

“This is the first time I have played seven in a row. I normally do not go over five. I was speaking to Jeev and he said, ‘You’ve got to test your body.’ I liked that phrase and so I am testing my body. Let’s see how far or long I can keep going.”

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