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I am used to playing under pressure: Rahil Gangjee

Calcutta: Rahil Gangjee was forced to take a two-week break from golf due to his father Bashir’s demise on December 5. He only returned to a golf course last Friday to prepare himself for the ongoing 2013 McLeod Russel Tour Championship. And he feared that once the tournament started, there would be a mental block.

“My father’s demise was a shock for me and my family… I was off the course for two weeks and only returned last Friday… I thought I would not be in the zone… But once the tournament started, I was surprised to see there wasn’t any nervousness… Once on the course I just went along. There was no rustiness, no tension. It’s smooth sailing so far,” he said.

Rahil feels that RCGC being the venue of the year-ending tournament of the PGTI also helped him. “It’s always nice to play at your home course. Today (Saturday) some of my friends walked with me throughout the 18 holes. You feel rejuvenated when you see known faces in the crowd. If I were playing outside Calcutta, this would not have been possible,” Rahil said.

Rahil wants his mother (Nazirah) to be at the Royal during the weekend. “She has promised me she would be coming. It would be nice to have a nice round in front of my mother.”

Rahil, who hit a four-under on Friday, is now at tied third with a score of 138, along with Abhinav Lohan.

With SSP Chowrasia not in the mix — he hit a two-under to be at tied 33rd — the onus will be on Rahil to keep the RCGC flag flying. “What’s SSP’s score? Two-under? Okay… If you think that I will be under pressure during the weekend then you are wrong. I am used to playing under pressure.”

Familiar faces may have helped him not to lose the focus, but there is no home advantage when it comes to the course. “No… There is no home advantage. Yeah it’s my home course, but given the conditions it evens out. The greens are firm and then you have the north wind blowing. It’s not easy to play even if it’s the course you know like the back of your hand.”

After Sunday, Rahil will shift his focus on the Asian Tour. “I will be playing in Thailand. I have a prize money of $98,000 and my target is to reach $1,10,000. It will be great if I do that,” Rahil signed off.