Chowrasia continues Merit chase in Indian Open

New Delhi: The impressive short game that gave him the nickname "Chipputtsia" has deserted him right now, says Indian golfer SSP Chowrasia, who is hoping to regain lost form for next week`s Hero Indian Open to push for the Asian Tour Order of Merit crown.

The Indian was atop the Order of Merit for a lengthy period of time following his triumph at the season-opening Avantha Masters on home soil in February but recently slipped back to second place behind Japan`s Tetsuji Hirasuka after an uncharacteristic run of missed cuts.

A return to the venerable Delhi Golf Club for the USD 1.25 million event, which is the richest full field Asian Tour tournament, will bring about a fresh dose of confidence as he seeks to change his fortunes and land a maiden Hero Indian Open title.

Chowrasia, who has missed 10 consecutive cuts in Asia and Europe, is known for his short game prowess but admits his putting touch has deserted him following his second career victory in February.

"I`m playing well but my putting has been bad. There is always something missing from my golf game. It is either my chipping or putting that has let me down. I`ve really been struggling in the last few months," said Chowrasia, who has finished runner-up twice in the Indian Open.

Chowrasia stormed to stardom when he won his maiden Asian Tour victory in 2008 at the Indian Masters but his ultimate dream is to follow in the footsteps of decorated countrymen Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa by becoming Asia`s number one.

"I`m aiming to win the Order of Merit. That`s my dream and goal for the year," said Chowrasia, who is the son of a greenskeeper at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club.

The lucrative Hero Indian Open, the fourth Asian Tour event to be played in the sub-continent this season, has attracted many of the biggest stars on the Asian Tour.

Defending champion Rikard Karlberg of Sweden, Thai veteran Thaworn Wiratchant, a 12-time winner in Asia, Angelo Que of the Philippines, and this year`s newest Asian Tour champions Berry Henson of the United States and Joonas Granberg of Finland will feature in the event.

India`s young guns Anirban Lahiri and Himmat Rai, who both won their maiden Asian Tour titles this year, and the experienced Jyoti Randhawa and Shiv Kapur will spearhead the local challenge.

Gaganjeet Bhullar will also be in the elite field and will be determined to end the season like how he started the year.

He won three consecutive titles in India and Bangladesh early on but has since struggled to maintain his momentum. Strangely by his high standards, Bhullar has yet to claim a single top-10 finish on the Asian Tour this year.

"There`s a bit of pressure for me to go out there and win one title this year but that`s golf and I`m sure everybody is feeling the same. We do work hard to win a tournament every year. The more you work and the luckier you get," said the two-time Asian Tour champion.


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