Chowrasia eyes Avantha Masters double
Greater Noida: Wiser in experience and stronger in technique, Indian golfer SSP Chowrasia says his confidence is quite high now and that alone would be enough to bring out the best in him when he aims for a second title triumph at the upcoming Avantha Masters.
Chowrasia became the first Indian to win a European Tour event on home soil - and only the third, after Arjun Atwal and Jeev Milkha Singh, to win one anywhere - when he captured the EMAAR-MGF Indian Masters title in 2008.
It was a real rags-to-riches tale for the self-taught 34-year-old, who used to sneak onto the course at night to play a few holes at Royal Calcutta Golf Club, where his father was a greenkeeper.
Three years later, thanks chiefly to his razor sharp short game - which earned him the nickname "Chipputtsia" - he repeated the feat in the Avantha Masters, sparking jubilant scenes at DLF Golf & Country Club.
Chowrasia will go in search of a hat-trick of European Tour titles when the fourth edition of the euro 1.8 million event takes place at Jaypee Greens here.
"I`m very excited about playing the Avantha Masters - I`m sure the tournament will be a great success. It`s the one all the Indian players want to win, and hopefully I can come out on top again," Chowrasia said.
"I`ve played Jaypee Greens many times, so I know what to expect. The fairways are quite wide, so unless the rough is very thick I think the scoring will be quite low. There is also a Golf Academy there which has a great driving range and practice facilities for the amateurs and us pros, so it`s a great venue for the tournament."
Chowrasia has fond memories of his Avantha Masters triumph in 2011, when he overhauled overnight leader Robert Coles with a round of 67 on the final day to prevail by a single stroke.
Having subsequently finished 80th in The Race to Dubai that season and 97th last year, Chowrasia has since established himself on The European Tour and has now set his sights on securing a place in the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai at the end of the season.
"After my win in 2011, I thought I could do anything. Winning once on The European Tour is one thing; but if you then win again, it shows it wasn`t down to luck the first time. I feel like I`m now a much better player than I was when I won for the first time in 2008. Playing in different conditions on different courses and against better players has definitely improved my game.
"Because of that, my confidence is now much higher than it was before. In my first season on Tour in 2009, I wasn`t ready at all - but not anymore. I`ve played in some very big tournaments this year and down quite well in all of them, especially [finishing tied 17th] in Abu Dhabi. So hopefully this year can be my best yet, and I can make it to Dubai at the end of the season."
Chowrasia will face a strong international field at Jaypee Greens GC, with European Tour winners Simon Dyson, S?ren Kjeldsen, Colin Montgomerie, Thomas Levet and the defending champion Jbe` Kruger all confirmed in the star-studded line-up.