Growing up in India, Adesh Shekatkar puts his more than 30 years of prowess in billiards to misspent youth in Bombay.
Shekatkar's father had a penchant for shuffling a pack of cards so the son became an alibi for his dad spending endless hours at the club on the pretence that he was watching his son chalking his cue stick for the benefit of mum.
That's how the younger Shekatkar built an enviable mental fortitude that saw him etch his name on the Heaphy Billiards Hawke's Bay Open in Hastings last night.
"I had to put the cue ball [white] on the brown spot of the billiard table and run it for three months to achieve that perfection," he said of the then club secretary's coaching.
"I was so frustrated but when I make a promise, I try to fulfil it," he said, dedicating that sense of perfection to that defining moment of his career.
Yesterday he beat former 11-time Bay open champion Paul Stocker, of Napier, 498-336 points in the final at the National Servicemen's Club.
"He's an old fox. He doesn't give it up that easy," Shekatkar said of Stocker, 78, who organised the weekend's event and whose reign in the tourney dates back to 1989, with his most recent crown in 2015.
But for the winner, who arrived in Rotorua in 2006, the quarterfinals were the turning point. Shekatkar took an hour to beat former New Zealand Open champion Grant Hayward, of Auckland, 327-237 before overwhelming Darren Taylor, of Hamilton, 467-312 in the semifinals.
"Grant is a beautiful player, if you watch his game. I can't stop wondering if I can play like him," said the 52-year-old production planner who believes practice makes perfect.
Shekatkar said precision was essential but so was some forethought on what sort of leeway one was going to create for an opponent on missing.
"Without 100 per cent concentration, you just cannot win this game," said the bloke who clinched the Auckland Open in March and the North Island Championship in Otaki last month.
His focus now is on the New Zealand Open Championship in Christchurch but Garry Oliver will be defending that crown on his home felt. He also won the Bay title last year but was unable to defend it.
"It's going to be difficult for me but let's see how it goes," said Shekatkar.
Stocker said he didn't play as well in the final but had ground his teeth in enough tourneys to be able to reconcile his emotions.
"Winning is nice but it doesn't always happen for you," he said, not expecting to be among the last eight as an organiser but relishing the competition.
"Adesh is a really fine player and has a great future," he said, adding Oliver is the country's top seed but Shekatkar was "a natural who doesn't have to think too long before playing his shots".
"If he can concentrate for longer periods, I think he'll definitely be a danger for those top players."
Stocker said a bigger field would have been nice but the field of 14 included quality players such as New Zealand No 2 Wayne Carey, of Auckland, who lost to No 3 Zac Guja, of Wellington, yesterday, and No 4 Shekatkar.
He beat Guja 361-253 in the quarters and Ross Delahunty, of Wellington, 340-146 in the semifinals. Shekatkar and Stocker had the highest breaks of 80.