Indian Open: Chawrasia ready for the charge

The three-time Asian Tour winner has a point to prove at the Indian Open.

Chawrasia... hoping to win the Indian Open this time.   -  AP

Golfer S. S. P. Chawrasia hopes to be victorious at the $1.66 million Indian Open next week after finishing second on four occasions in the past.

The EurAsia Cup star lost in a play-off to eventual champion Anirban Lahiri last year but remains hopeful of landing the prestigious title when the event takes place at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) from March 17 to 20. Chawrasia also finished second in 1999, 2006 and 2013.

Chawrasia will be among a strong cast at the tournament which includes title holder Lahiri, three-time Major champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland, current Order of Merit leader Marcus Fraser of Australia and two-time Asian Tour No. 1 Jeev Milkha Singh.

 

Asia’s rising stars, Miguel Tabuena (the Philippines), Natipong Srithong (Thailand), Danthai Boonma and Chiragh Kumar, who won his first Asian Tour title at the Delhi course last year, will also feature in the event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour for the second consecutive year.

Mithun Perera (Sri Lanka), Jeunghun Wang (South Korea), Carlos Pigem (Spain), Paul Peterson (US), Sam Brazel (Australia) and Thanyakon Khrongpha (Thailand) are among the players hoping to secure their first Asian Tour title after coming close on numerous occasions.

Chawrasia, a three-time Asian Tour winner, will have a point to prove at the Indian Open, and past defeats have fuelled his desire to win the tournament.

“The Indian Open is the biggest event in my country and every Indian golfer wants to win it. When I lose in any tournament, I realise I learn from it and that helps me improve. I’ve come close so many times, so I’m a bit disappointed but this is part of golf,” said Chawrasia.

“I’m very excited to play in Delhi again because I always have good results. All the Indian players know how to tackle the course and my game is slowly getting better, so I’m feeling confident.”

Chawrasia held a two-shot lead heading into the final round but struggled to a disappointing 76 in gusty conditions which allowed Lahiri to fight back from being seven shots down to force a play-off.

“I didn’t play very well in the final round. It was very windy. In Delhi, you have to be cool, hit it straight and putt well. If you can do these three things well, then you can win on the course,” explained the 37-year-old.

A tied-fifth in Myanmar was Chawrasia’s best result so far this year, and the Indian admits he has been struggling to find consistency with the flat stick. “I’ve been struggling with my putting but I’m slowly trying to fix it. I found something small, which I’ve not been doing and I’m putting better. I didn’t keep my head down but I’m doing it now and I’ starting to putt better,” said Chawrasia.

The Indian Open has been a regular fixture on the Asian Tour schedule, and it will be sanctioned with the European Tour for the second consecutive year. This year marks the 52nd edition of the prestigious tournament.