Photo - Asian Tour
CHOWRASIA AIMS TO LIVE UP TO NICKNAME AT OMEGA EUROPEAN MASTERS
Crans Montana, Switzerland: India’s S.S.P. Chowrasia hopes to regain his magical short game and turn his season around at the Omega European Masters starting on Thursday.
The slightly built Indian is amongst a strong line-up of Asian Tour stars who will feature at the €2 million (US$2.8 million) event co-sanctioned with the European Tour at the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.
Since his career breakthrough two years ago when he won the Indian Masters, the 32-year-old has struggled to reproduce his winning form and blamed poor putting for his woes.
“My game is feeling okay. I’ve put in a lot of work in the last few years and changed my swing a bit. I’ve improved on my ball striking but my putting is not so good now. I’ve been missing a few short putts. My strong point is gone. I hope it’ll come back soon,” said Chowrasia.
Nicknamed Chip-putt-sia by the Indian media for his short game prowess, he has changed at least three different putters this season and is contemplating another switch this week.
“The greens here are tricky. Reading the lines is a problem,” said Chowrasia.
“When I play in Europe, I see that my shots and swing is not much different from the top players but they are winning tournaments. My putting has let me down since last year. I’m thinking of changing putter again this week.”
Despite languishing in 173rd place on the European Tour’s Order of Merit and 34th on the Asian Tour’s ranking, Chowrasia is confident he can haul himself into the safety zone when his winner’s exemption expires at the end of this season.
A return to the stunning Crans-sur-Sierre course has put him at ease as he prepares to challenge the likes of British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen of South African, Australian legend Greg Norman and Asia’s top stars Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand and countryman Jeev Milkha Singh.
“It’s a nice course. I like this place and it’s so beautiful out there. The course is tricky but it’s fairly short which will suit my game nicely,” said Chowrasia, who is the son of a greenskeeper.
“This is the final year of my exemption on both Tours but one or two good tournaments will help me keep my card. I’ll aim for a good finish this week as I feel good about this place,” he added.
After the high of being in the Swiss Alps, Chowrasia will return to Asia next week to compete in the inaugural Handa Singapore Classic at the Orchid Country Club and also the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open in Japan.
“I always like competing on the Asian Tour as that was where I started my career. I’m hoping to play well again as I feel my swing is good.”
Other Indians in the field this week include Jyoti Randhawa, Anirban Lahiri, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Shiv Kapur.