Chawrasia keeps Indian Open title in style

Given the high degree of difficulty presented by the DLF Golf and Country Club course, it was hardly surprising to note that only six players could break par on aggregate. In this background, Chowrasia’s seven-stroke winning margin stood out.

SSP Chawrasia celebrates his win on the 18th hole during the final round of the Hero Indian Open on Sunday.   -  Getty Images

On Sunday, Shiv Shankar Prasad Chawrasia did more than just retaining the $1.75 million Hero Indian Open title. He made a point on a course where every regular from the European Tour struggled in varying degrees.

Given the high degree of difficulty presented by the DLF Golf and Country Club course, it was hardly surprising to note that only six players could break par on aggregate. In this background, Chowrasia’s seven-stroke winning margin stood out. It was clear that this week, this genial Indian with an infectious smile was rewarded for his amazing ability to stay focussed on the job on hand.

For his effort, Chawrasia won $291,660 while joint-fifth Anirban Lahiri received $62,650.

  • Chawrasia became the second Indian after Jeev Milkha Singh to bag four European Tour titles, his sixth win on the Asian Tour and sixth international victory. In all, this was his 16th title professional.
  • The first Indian to defend a title on the European Tour.
  • Equalled the highest winning margin of seven strokes to win the Indian Open. He emulated the feat achieved by P. G. Sethi (1965) and Filipino Ben Arda (1969) at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club.
  • The second Indian, after Jyoti Randhawa, to successfully defend the Indian Open title. Randhawa, a three-time winner, won back-to-back in 2006 and 2007 at the Delhi Golf Club.
  • He became the third multiple winner, after Ali Sher (1991 and 1993) and Jyoti Randhawa (2000, 2006 & 2007) of the Indian Open.
  • He became the first back-to-back winner of the Indian Open at different venues (Delhi Golf Club and DLF Golf & Country Club)
  • He emulated Jyoti Randhawa by winning the Indian Open at two different golf courses. Randhawa won Classic Golf Resort, Gurugram in 2000 and at the Delhi Golf Club (2006 and 2007).

On Tuesday, Chawrasia had put the winning score at -10. On Sunday, this was exactly what Chawrasia posted. Clearly, his reading of the course and conditions was suitably rewarded.

“I feel great as it’s one of the toughest courses I’ve played and won by seven shots. This is the biggest victory of my career. The secret (behind winning) is only hard work, I gave my 100 per cent and I practiced a lot on everything.”

He kept a calm exterior and looked confident throughout his campaign but contrary to what appeared, the champion said, “I was not comfortable on this course, I was nervous on every single shot. When I finished the (third) round, (in the forenoon today), I knew I had a two-shot lead into the final round. I told myself, I didn’t need birdies, just aiming for pars in the final round.”

Chawrasia played 25 holes on this day after being required to finish seven pending holes from the previous round. He started the final round with a two-stroke cushion after firing a hat-trick of birdies for a four-under 68. Right through the round, Chawarsia led by two to eight strokes, thanks also to his nearest rivals Carlos Pigem and Gavin Green who slowly fell behind.

But the champion was gracious enough to admit, “After I bogeyed the sixth and seventh holes, I thought I was on the border. I told myself to make some birdies and I get a bit serious.” He bounced right back with successive birdies to take a five-stroke lead at the turn.

“I just played good this week, obviously some luck, too. Jeev (Milkha Singh) was telling me to calm down and play my own game and don’t look at others. I told him I’ll follow his advice and follow the same routine.” Incidentally, Jeev failed to make the cut after rounds of 85 and 84.

For the record, this was the third instance since the inception of the event in 1964 and first time since 1969 that the champion finished with seven-stroke victory margin. In fact, Chawrasia’s bogey on the final hole robbed him of an opportunity to set a record for the winning score.

The scores:

S. S. P. Chawrasia (72, 67, 68, 71) 278; Gavin Green (Mas) (72, 73, 65, 75) 285; Scott Jamieson (Sco) (70, 74, 70, 72), Matteo Manassero (Ita) (68, 73, 72, 73) 286; Anirban Lahiri (76, 73, 72, 73), Rafa Cabrera Bello (Esp), (73, 73, 70, 71) and Carlos Pigem (Esp) (69, 73, 67, 78) 287.

Other Indians: Chiragh Kumar (73, 75, 71, 74) 293; S. Chikkarangapa (72, 76, 75, 72) 295; Shubhankar Sharma (72, 76, 71, 78) 297; Shamim Khan (74, 74, 73, 77) 298; Gaganjeet Bhullar (74, 74, 76, 74) 298); Arjun Atwal (74, 76, 72, 79) 301; Ajeetesh Sandhu (73, 77, 77, 74) 301; Digvijay Singh (77, 70, 75, 80), Deepinder Singh Kullar (76, 74, 76, 76) 302; Jyoti Randhawa (75, 70, 79, 79) 303; Rashid Khan (73, 76, 78, 81) 308; Rigel Fernandes (A) (72, 76, 84, 77) 309; Abhijit Chadha (76, 73, 79, 82) 310.

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