Rahul & Randhir rise from despair

Rahul & Randhir recover from a despairing effort in the first round to produce the best effort on Wednesday. Both golfers made 66 to jump into the top 5

Rahul Bajaj Golfer


Feature by Anand Datla


October 15, 2014: The flashlights are clearly focused on an irrepressible Abhinav Lohan, who has been the most steady of all players over the first two rounds of the PGTI Players Championship. But the real heroics were getting scripted away from the arc lights, by a couple of determined men who produced special performances on Wednesday to recover from near hopeless situations. Rahul Bajaj was seven strokes adrift at the end of Tuesday (74) and Randhir Singh Ghotra was languishing eight off the pace after a forgettable first round (75) at the Noida Golf Club. But in a complete reversal for the two resilient men, they shot 66 each to record the best effort of the second round and catapult themselves into the top 5.


It was a brilliant effort from both the golfers, whose efforts underlined the reasons for our deep love and addiction for the drama and dialogue in the theatre of sport. Rahul is a familiar sight at the Noida Golf Club, as he constantly takes to the course to hone his skills at a place that is his second home. But the 28 year old hasn’t made a cut more than three months and was low on confidence heading into the second round.


Randhir though is from the Chandigarh Golf Club and was coming off a top twenty finish at the BILT Open last week. The 36 year old was fourth at the API Feeder Tour Championship last month, so confidence was not a problem for the veteran. But both these men were dealing with a stinging blow at the end of the first round, as the demanding Noida course subjected them to multiple bogeys in the first round.


With their backs to the wall and another missed cut looming large, the two men showed immense character and determination to not only fight back from a state of despair, but force their way into the top five on the leaderboard. Rahul had suffered as many as five bogeys in the first round, to waste away a brilliant eagle at the first hole on Tuesday.


There was no such stutter in the second round. He raced through the front nine in just 32 shots before adding two more birdies at the 14th and 17th holes to complete a spotless round of six under 66 to record the best round of the day. Randhir emulated Rahul by pacing through the first nine holes in 32 shots. And though he punctuated his run with a four at the par-3 16th hole, the veteran from Chandigarh finished off with a birdie on the 18th for his 66.


It was the kind of effort that has the potential to change the trajectory of a golfer’s fortune. What these two men make of their fortunes and whether they can feed off the positive energy from their second round efforts will make for an interesting narrative in the days to come.


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