In a land where cricket in king, Indian golfer SSP Chawrasia is quickly establishing himself as a golfing prince. The 38-year old from Kolkata shot a final round 71 in the Hero Indian Open to clinch a seven-shot victory and his second straight success in the tournament.
The home favourite (who competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics for India above) started the day in a share of the lead at DLF Golf and Country Club, but had moved two shots ahead when the third round of the weather-delayed tournament was completed on Sunday morning.
“I’m winning back-to-back so I’m really very happy,” he said. “I was very happy to have everyone supporting me and having my wife here too to see me winning the Indian Open two times back to back. I’m just very, very happy. This is a very tough course so I’m just trying to play straight and to the right place. I played very consistently this week. After driving (on the 18th) I was thinking, ‘now I’ve won the tournament’. I know on the 18th hole, driving is very, very tough.”
Malaysia’s Gavin Green finished top in the tournament for the rest of the field but never truly threatened Chawrasia’s dominance, making two birdies and five bogeys in a 75 that helped him seal his first European Tour top ten.
Scotsman Scott Jamieson signed for a 72 to finish eight shots behind the leader alongside Italy’s Matteo Manassero, who finished with a 73. The only players in the world Top 100 who made an impact during the week were Rafa Cabrera Bello (No.26) and another local favourite, Anirban Lahiri (No.74) who both finished in a tie for 5th at -1.
So whilst the Indian sporting faithful may still worship the likes of Vihrat Kohli, MS Dohni and the other stars of the cricketing world, Chawrasia is certainly heading to the top of the national rankings and could one day be regarded in the same light as the stars of bat and ball.
The European Tour now takes a full month off although the WGC World Match Play event in Texas and the Masters in Augusta do count for ranking points for qualified players. The next sanctioned event is the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco that begins play on April 13th.