Two days ago leading was unthinkable, says ailing Kapur

February 29th, 2008 - 9:33 pm ICT by admin  

By V. Krishnaswamy
Gurgaon, Feb 29 (IANS) Unable to recall when he last led into the weekend rounds, Shiv Kapur was a tired but happy man as he trudged back to the recorder’s room to turn in his card of seven-under 65 that gave him a share of the lead. “I’m obviously pretty happy. If at the start of the day or week somebody told me I would be leading after two rounds I would have been laughing. But today I got off to a good start and made an eagle on front nine and a couple of birdies as I just seemed to be putting pretty good,” said Kapur.

“Overall, I think I put myself in position, and you do that many times, but if the putter doesn’t cooperate, it’s no good. So today I stayed pretty patient and relaxed and had the putter working for me.”

Talking about his ill health, which almost forced him to withdraw before the start, Kapur laughed and said: “Yeah, I can talk, I can breathe. Yesterday, my nose (would run), every time I would stand over a putt I would have to concentrate but it seems to be getting better. Usually they say it’s a five-day virus, so I’m hoping I’ll be fully fit for the weekend. I was lacking energy a bit on the back nine, I had lots of Gatorade and fruit to keep me going, so energy is sort of the only issue.

“Like I said yesterday (Thursday), sometimes it’s better when you’re sick, because you’re not thinking so much about technique. You’re not thinking about all the external factors. You just sort of try to get through the round and you tend to concentrate on one shot at a time, rather than look at the bigger picture and that worked in my favour.”

The last hole, the 18th, may well have given him another birdie and sole lead. Said Kapur: “Well, I hit a perfect drive. The main challenge is the drive and I hit it perfectly down the middle.

“I hit a 4-iron in and was blinded by the sun. I couldn’t see very much standing in the fairway so I was trying to pick a spot somewhere in the horizon. And as soon as I hit it, I had no idea where it had gone.

“I asked my caddie, ‘Is it right, left?’ I felt like it came a little bit right off the club head and I think I caught a gust of wind.” It hit the apron of the green near the water and rolled back a bit, but stayed dry about three feet from the pond.

“But sometimes you need the good breaks to go your way. I didn’t take advantage of it. I would have liked to end with a four but I didn’t. I thought I hit a perfect chip as well but released a little bit more. But I got a good break there, I could have easily gone in the water and made double and not be sitting here smiling.”

Feeding off the birdies he had, he said: “My caddie told me that ‘the best energy booster is a birdie, so every birdie you make will carry you through the next hole.’

“It’s funny how that works in golf. If you’re playing well, it doesn’t matter how low energy, you find a way to get through the round. If you make one bogey, suddenly you feel like you’ve got no air in your system at all. It’s easy when you’re playing well.”

On his game, he added: “I think my short game has been good over the last few weeks. This week to be honest I didn’t expect it to be good. I had not hit a single putt in ten days before yesterday so I could not really expect much.

“But sometimes the body, it’s got it’s own way of dealing with that and you come out fresh. On the other hand, I got a great tip from Vikramjit Singh who asked me to keep the hands soft. I tried to think about that all day and it really worked in my putting and it also helped me with my tee shots.”

Talking about his position, he added: “I think one thing I’ve learned from all my past experiences is a lot of times the winning score isn’t as low as you expect it to be. You know, you sit here on a Friday afternoon you think 10-under is leading and you think it will be 19 under which it most probably will be but sometimes it isn’t.

“As long as you’re in with a chance and you’re within shouting distance, all right, you don’t have to keep going. You’re not going to shoot 65 every day. Patience is obviously a key come the weekend. So I’m going to try to just basically do what I’ve been doing, try to stay relaxed and just stay within touch of the leaders.”

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