Two in a row for Chawrasia

Golf Indian Open: Seven-shot victory makes him the first Indian to defend a European Tour title

Two in a row for Chawrasia

SSP Chawrasia clinched the “best win of his career” in successfully defending the Hero Indian Open at the picturesque DLF Golf and Country Club on Sunday.  

Chawrasia (278) mastered the punishing greens with finesse and left behind the rest of field by a seven-stroke margin after carding a 71 in the final round. Malaysian Gavin Green (285) finished second while Scott Jamieson of Scotland and Italian Matteo Manaserro were tied third with 286.

Chawrasia’s successive titles made him the first Indian to successfully defend a European Tour title and the first player to win his first four events in his home country.

“I’m not comfortable on the course, I’m nervous on every single shot. I knew I had a few shots leading into the final round. I was just aiming for pars in the final round,” said Chawrasia.

Chawrasia drew a handsome crowd over the weekend and among those who watched him create history was 2015 champion and compatriot Anirban Lahiri who finished tied fifth, moving three spots in the last round courtesy his 71.

Chawrasia, 38, had to return early in the morning to finish the remaining seven holes of the third round following the weather delays on the first two days. He began the final round with a two-stroke lead over Carlos Pigem, and was not to be budged from the top place.  Throughout the final round, no one could come close to Chawrasia.

 After three pars, the Indian picked a shot in the fourth hole, before hitting two back-to-back bogeys on the sixth and the seventh. He, however, bounced back with birdies on the eighth and ninth to build on his lead. By the time he sank a birdie on the 13th, facilitated by an excellent approach shot, he was ahead by six strokes from Gavin and Pigem, and increased it to seven after the 14th.

After three pars on the trot, Chawrasia bogeyed on the final hole, but it hardly mattered by then. For Pigem, following four bogeys and a double bogey on the 18th, had slipped to tied fifth while Gavin, with a fifth dropped shot on the 17th, managed to par on the 18th.

 The ever-smiling and humble Chawrasia was drenched in cold water by his wife and friends, and despite shivering in the chilly environs, he pleasantly obliged the waiting fans and the media.

 “This probably is the best win of my career as it was a really tough course. I learned many things this week. My next target is to win in Europe,” said Chawrasia. Statistics, too, point to the same. Only seven players could notch under-par scores after the four rounds.

Chawrasia took home a cheque for US $291,660 and has moved up from 194th place to 18th position on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai and from 60th to second in the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.

Scores: (after 72 holes, Indians unless mentioned): 278: SSP Chawrasia (72, 67, 68, 71); 285: Gavin Green (Mas, 72, 73, 65, 75); 286: Scott Jamieson (Sco, 70, 74, 70, 72), Matteo Manassero (Ita, 68, 73, 72, 73); 287: Carlos Pigem (Esp, 69, 73, 67, 78),

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