Mane pumped for big test

Mane pumped for big test

Udayan Mane

After a strong finish to 2017, Udayan Mane endured a sluggish start to the 2018 season with a few missed cuts and an average outing at the Hero Indian Open.

His game seems to have turned a corner in the last month with the 27-year-old dishing out a fine performance to finish tied-6 at the Asian Tour Bank BRI Indonesia Open in mid-July.

It got even better when he turned out at the Louis Philippe Cup (Asian Development Tour event) in Bengaluru with the burly Ahmedabad-golfer sharing the lead ahead of the final round. But things went awry on the last day and he had to be satisfied with tied-fourth.

While that could be demoralising for many players ahead of a big tournament -- TAKE Solutions Masters that tees off on Thursday at the Karnataka Golf Association -- Mane insists he relishes the challenge of having to bounce back from a setback.

"Actually, rounds like that motivate me. They pump me up more. I have huge expectations of myself in the long run, but from week to week I try and not to keep any expectation. Stuff like that (last day) happens in golf. Luckily, I have a positive response to things like that. I am pumped to shoot an even better final round," he said.

The response isn't surprising as Mane comes across as one of the calmer golfers on the circuit, something he says, a lot of people have told him. But the transition from being an amateur to playing on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) and now competing on the Asian Tour hasn't been easy and expectedly an intimidating experience.

"I was pretty intimidated at first. But when the first win came on the PGTI, it eased my mind a lot. The trick is, you just have to make birdies. You need to outplay the field no matter who the guy is.

"I have been talking to Anirban (Lahiri) also about it and he had the same advice for me. That made a lot of sense and it has been working, especially on the bigger tours. I'm not intimidated anymore. I used to be intimidated on the Asian Tour but after Indonesia, Louis Philippe and playing on the ADT (Asian Development Tour) the experience comes in handy," revealed Mane, who turned pro in 2015.

Mane will go into the tournament with a slight edge considering he won the last tournament at KGA -- Bengaluru Open Golf Championship in November. The field on the Asian Tour is a lot different though, compared to a PGTI event.

Staying realistic, the Vijay Divecha-ward said: "I have already set myself a scoring target. The rough is very, very up. It’s tough, the wind is up. The greens are also playing great but not as good as it was in November. Even though they have widened some of the fairways, it is going to be a tough week.

"But definitely, I want to be part of the reckoning come Saturday, Sunday," he concluded.


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