Tournament favourite Chawrasia aims to play his own game

He may not have wished to make a fuss over his record, but the perma-smiling S. S. P Chawrasia will start favourite when the $300,000 Asian Tour event begins at the Karnataka Golf Association here on Thursday.

All he wanted, S.S.P. Chawrasia stated on the eve of the TAKE Solutions Masters, was to play his own game. “If anyone plays better than me,” he shrugged, “he can take the trophy.”   -  Getty Images

All he wanted, S.S.P. Chawrasia stated on the eve of the TAKE Solutions Masters, was to play his own game. “If anyone plays better than me,” he shrugged, “he can take the trophy.”

He may not have wished to make a fuss over his record, but the perma-smiling Chawrasia will start favourite when the $300,000 Asian Tour event begins at the Karnataka Golf Association here on Thursday. The 39-year-old sits second on the Order of Merit and since 2014 has won three of the seven Asian Tour engagements on Indian soil (all seven have been won by Indians). He arrives here having missed the cut at the Irish and Scottish Opens, but the Kolkata golfer was in similarly wretched form before he secured the Indian Open in March. Victory -- or a tie for second with one other player -- will catapult Chawrasia to top spot on the money list.

Back when the TAKE Solutions Masters was on the ADT, S. Chikkarangappa won it twice; he now chases a first Asian Tour title. The 23-year-old has had a difficult season but remains confident he can turn it around, especially in his home-town, where he is guaranteed vociferous support.

Shiv Kapur, who ended a long drought when he won the Yeangder Heritage in April, and Gaganjeet Bhullar, who tied for second (with the former) at the Thailand Open in May, are contenders too.

Also in the fray are a host of overseas players who have claimed their first titles this year: Nicholas Fung (Malaysia), who won the previous event on the calendar, the Queen's Cup; Rattanon Wannasrichan (Thailand), who secured the Thailand Open in May; Jazz Janewattananond (Thailand), who triumphed in Bangladesh; and Todd Sinnott (Australia) who won in Myanmar in January.

The TAKE Solutions Masters marks the return of high-profile golf to the KGA, which last hosted an Asian Tour event five years ago. A number of players have described the course as technically demanding, with the fairways narrower, the rough longer, and the greens faster. This will not be a week for the power-hitters.