It’s back to the fu­ture for Rory Hie In­done­sian On 17-Un­der; Rashid Just A Step Be­hind

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Sport - Moushumi.Bora @times­group.com Manne.Rat­nakar @times­group.com

Mewat (Haryana): Rory Hie is still on a high but with only a stroke separat­ing the In­done­sian and a fo­cused Rashid Khan, the only former Asian Tour win­ner in the top-10, read­ing the cards is a dif­fi­cult task.

Mak­ing the fi­nal day pro­ceed­ings even more ex­cit­ing is the ad­di­tion of Ab­hi­jit Chadha in the equa­tion. The Chandi­garh golfer made a fly­ing start, go­ing 3-un­der af­ter four holes, and match­ing Hie but a few un­lucky lip-outs and a four-un­der 68 en­sured he would start the fourth round two strokes adrift of the leader at 17-un­der.

The man from Jakarta - call him a Cal­i­for­nian too - moved to the US when he was nine and emerged sixth in the world am­a­teur rank­ings, but the

IN FORM:

tran­si­tion to pro golf has not been smooth.

Still win­less on the Asian Tour, it has been back to the fu­ture for Rory this week as he notched up a five-un­der 67 on Day 3 of the $300,000 Clas­sic Golf & Coun­try Club In­ter­na­tional Cham­pi­onship.

In con­stant touch with his men­tal coach Lawrie Mon­tague, the 31-year-old took his sugges­tion of ap­proach­ing and sim­pli­fy­ing the game the way he played as an am­a­teur. “As a ju­nior, I al­ways had a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude to­wards every putt, whether it was a par or birdie. I didn’t think about my swing, I was re­ally happy just to play. So this has been an en­joy­able week for me be­cause I’ve man­aged to put my thoughts into prac­tice.”

Another bolt from the past was the lo­cal cad­die who car­ried his bag in the 2009 SAIL Open, the last Asian Tour event to be played on this course. “He searched my name on the list and ap­proached me again.”

It was a year af­ter Hie had turned pro. He fin­ished ninth with a score of 17-un­der as he saw Chapchai Ni­rat chalk­ing up a world record of 32-un­der.

The strapped right wrist spoke of a torn lig­a­ment in­jury four months ago but he has been play­ing with­out pain. “The ban­dage is a ne­ces­sity but it doesn’t trou­ble me.” Play­ing on this course has been pure plea­sure, mean­while. “I grew up in the US and a lot of cour­ses are wide open like this Jack Nick­laus one, and even though there is still some rough I feel I can man­age my game around with the course set up this way.”

Rashid shrugged off his only bad hole in three days af­ter drop­ping a bo­gey on the 11th, his first af­ter 46 holes. “It was a mis­judg­ment of where the flag would be placed.”

His slow start also didn’t bother him, know­ing there were plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties on the back nine. “Yes­ter­day I was 4-un­der af­ter seven, to­day I was one, but I knew I had kept it close on the re­turn jour­ney in R2 so I thought if I cap­i­talised on the chances, I would be in a good po­si­tion.”

He was right. Birdies on the12th,15th,16th and18th took him to six-un­der 66 and set him up for his third Asian Tour tri­umph. “That was like five years ago. I have to restart. To win a tour­na­ment, you have to be there first so that’s my plan. We will see on the last nine holes.”

The course has been a mixed bag for the 28-year-old who had won a do­mes­tic tour­na­ment here in 2013 but missed the cut at the PGTI Play­ers cham­pi­onship ear­lier this year. Rashid was not look­ing back, or for­ward.

199 - Rory Hie (INA) 64-68-67. 200 - Rashid Khan (IND) 68-66-66. 201- Ab­hi­jit Chadha (IND) 68-65-68. 202 - Byungjun Kim (KOR) 69-66-67. 204 - Aadil Bedi (IND) 67-68-69, Ko­suke Ha­mamoto (THA) 69-65-70. Hy­der­abad: Korean coach Kim Ji Hyun, who is cred­ited with help­ing PV Sindhu raise her game, has left for New Zealand due to a med­i­cal emer­gency. Kim was forced to leave in a hurry in or­der to tend to her hus­band, who is fac­ing a med­i­cal is­sue that may take long time to heal.

When TOI con­tacted Kim on Satur­day to en­quire about her hus­band’s health and to ask about her likely re­turn, the coach said: “At this mo­ment, I am not 100% sure.”

Pul­lela Gopic­hand, chief coach of the In­dian team, hoped that the coach would join them soon. "She left on a med­i­cal emer­gency. We stand by her dur­ing these tough times. I am hop­ing that things would set­tle down soon and she would be back with us," Gopi said.

In Kim’s ab­sence, Gopic­hand will ac­com­pany the In­dian team to the China Open BWF Su­per 1000 tour­na­ment.

TOI

Rashid Khan

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