Since the watershed year on the Professional Golf Tour of India in 2019, when he broke through, Abhinav Lohan has found himself in contention many times. Compared to the past and before those two wins, Abhinav is in a much better space now. A case in point was the weekend of the Gujarat Open in February. Five shots separated him and Om Prakash Chouhan going into the final day, but the gap was of no consequence.
The quiet confidence this time comes from “shaking the monkey off my back”, having worked hard to get into the winners’ circle since turning pro in 2011. But for OP dropping shots towards the close, the gulf could have been wider, but who cares. Less or more, Abhinav’s mind is a clean slate these days. “I’d rather be playing my game than thinking about the gap, especially when the difference isn’t small.”
Those two weeks from 2019, when he won on the Feeder and Main Tour, have transformed Abhinav. The mind is calmer, and a golfer in control of emotions and his craft. “That season taught me to be patient and I’m more aware of my game. No matter where I figure on the leaderboard, the mind’s a clean slate at the start of every round,” he says.
Abhinav had another factor working for him at the Kalhaar Blues and Greens and the ensuing week of the Glade One Masters. That was staying away from golf. Never in his career has he skipped practice for 10 days, and on hindsight spending quality time with the family was a welcome distraction. Abhinav’s engagement and his sister flying down from the US for the big occasion has shown that it always need not be golf over family. “When the fixation is golf, switching priorities can be a refreshing break.”
Going into the Gujarat Open, the year’s first tournament, Abhinav may not have practiced as hard but nevertheless found himself in a happy space. He finished 9th and did even better the following week by finishing two rungs behind the champion Om Prakash Chouhan.
For a man at peace, this bodes well once the PGTI prepares to restart after the second wave of the pandemic subsides.
Photo credit: Abhinav Lohan