Hope floats as Pukhraj Gill goes back in time to regain touch

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Rediscovering strengths helped Pukhraj Singh Gill shoot a flawless seven-under 64 on the opening day of the Golconda Masters in Hyderabad on Thursday.
Rediscovering strengths helped Pukhraj Singh Gill shoot a flawless seven-under 64 on the opening day of the Golconda Masters in Hyderabad on Thursday.

Irrespective of the outcome on Sunday, the final day of the Golconda Masters, Pukhraj Singh Gill is certain he is on the right track in his endeavour to step up on the Professional Golf Tour of India. That the Tour’s first event after Restart 2 is happening at the Hyderabad Golf Club, a venue that “suits the eye and course design is to my liking”, has made the job a tad easier.

 

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Since 2019, Pukhraj has enjoyed some of his best results on Tour at this venue with the mighty Golconda Fort as a backdrop. Traditionally, a long hitter off the tee, Pukhraj combined it with pin-point accuracy on Thursday and the result was a share of the lead at 7-under 64 after Day 1. The one-shot lead could evaporate in no time given the sport’s fickle nature, but Pukhraj is counting the benefits of introspection that led to the change in gameplan.

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Ball striking it was that was a concern before the Tour got stalled in March. That rankled as this aspect was among his strengths as an amateur and the initial phase of the pro career after he switched ranks in 2018. To address this area, Pukhraj joined brother Digraj, who also started strongly with a 66 to be T4, from Ludhiana to Jaypee Greens in Greater Noida towards the end of July.

 

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The move was well though out. “The break led me to think about what I was doing when the form was good,” said the 24-year-old. “After staying away from competition this long, ball striking was the key concern.” Work started on this front along with other aspects getting a look-in as well. After playing fade for more than a year, it is draw for Puhkhraj now. The irons he used earlier on are no longer available but reverting to his trusted brand with tailormade specifications of yore, “the feel is coming back”.

The effects can be seen. “I was phenomenal off the tee and being accurate gave me a lot of birdie opportunities given the length of this course,” said Pukhraj.

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The flawless round, especially the birdie-making spree from 15th to 18th, has raised visions of another strong finish at this traditional stronghold. But Pukhraj is not ready to jump the gun yet, chastened as he is by the experience in 2019 when he was in contention after two days but slipped on the weekend.

Photo credit: Pukhraj Singh Gill

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