Indian Open: Four-time runner-up Chawrasia aims to get better

The two-time European Tour winner is busy sharpening his putting game even as he makes another attempt to clinch the 52nd National Open.

S. S. P. Chawrasia will be looking to clinch the Indian Open title after finishing second four times.   -  Getty Images

He finished second four times at the Indian Open but ace golfer S. S. P. Chawrasia doesn’t allow past experiences to weigh him down.

The two-time European Tour winner is busy sharpening his putting game even as he makes another attempt to clinch the 52nd National Open, starting at the prestigious Delhi Golf club here tomorrow.

“Honestly, I don’t remember the bad memories. I only have lot of good memories of playing on this course,” says Chawrasia, who will take on a stellar field including defending champion Anirban Lahiri, three-time Major champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland, current Order of Merit leader Marcus Fraser of Australia.

“I am really excited about coming back to the DGC and I am looking forward to playing tomorrow,” added the diminutive Indian, who has been clubbed with Thailand’s Prom Meesawat and Australia’s Brett Rumford for the first two rounds.

The 37-year-old from Kolkata was defeated in a play-off to eventual champion Anirban last year. He also finished second in 1999, 2006 and 2013.

The three-time Asian Tour winner, Chawrasia is a frontrunner to seal the second spot for India behind Anirban Lahiri at the Rio Olympics Games.

He might face competition from Chiragh Kumar (309), Rahil Gangjee (348), Rashid Khan (357) and Chikkarangappa (364) in the next few months leading up to the cut-off date of qualification for the Olympics, which is July 11.

“Golf will be back in Olympics in August and I am hopeful that I will qualify for the Rio Games. This tournament will be important. I am focusing on my game. I haven’t played well in the last 2-3 events but overall I am playing well. It is an important week and I will try my best,” said the second-highest ranked Indian in the world at No. 239.

“Last year, I played well except in the final round as I was struggling with my putting. I am not a long hitter and I have always believed in hitting it straight and depended on my putting and chipping, that’s my strong point.

“I am working on my putting now. I will try to hit it straight. It is a tough course and I will keep the driver away and use the three-woods and hybrids,” added the two-time European Tour event winner, whose best result this year has been a tied fifth finish at Myanmar.