Kuala Lumpur: For a man who grew up without the frills in life, S.S.P. Chowrasia knew that a dip in form was merely a small challenge that he needed to overcome.
After two years of struggles on the golf course, a patient Chowrasia welcomed a return to form on Sunday with a superb victory at the season-opening Avantha Masters on home soil.
The son of a greenskeeper at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club, the 32-year-old’s career hit the summit with a career breakthrough win at the Indian Masters in 2008 on the Asian Tour, only to come crashing back down to the earth through indifferent form especially on his exploits to Europe.
Good old fashion hard work with his coach provided some light at the end of the tunnel last season where he notched two top-10s and the sun shone brightly on Chowrasia once more when he benefited greatly from a collapse by Robert Coles of England to triumph by one shot at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
Back in the winner’s circle, and with another three years of exemption on the Asian Tour and European Tour, Chowrasia was no doubt feeling on top of the world again as he also leads the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit with US$405,180.
“I had a problem with my swing after my 2008 win and that was the reason for my title drought. I worked on it with my coach Pritam Saikia and sorted out all the problems. This finally got my confidence going,” said Chowrasia, nicknamed “Chip-putt-sia” for his shot-game prowess.
While indebted to the Asian Tour for giving him the launchpad to his career, Chowrasia is keen to venture back to Europe whenever possible to give himself a shot at more glory.
He feels confident of his quest ahead despite only one top-10 in 73 appearances in Europe which saw him lose his card at the end of last season. However, he believes he is better accustomed to the different courses and playing conditions.
“I have a little more experience in Europe now and that is important because I know the golf courses and the cultures better. I’m going to sit down and rework my schedule so that I can have the best chance of more success. It’s a really exciting time for me,” added the Indian.
His wonderful success was another testament to the immense growth of golf in India, thanks to the Asian Tour’s presence in the sub-continent. While a total of 12 Indians made the weekend rounds including former Order of Merit champions Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa, little-known Sujjan Singh made headlines of his own as he finished tied fifth, four strokes behind Chowrasia.
The 30-year-old, playing in his first Asian Tour event since earning his card from Qualifying School last month, literally booked himself full playing rights for 2011 after earning US$94,082 to lie in second on the Order of Merit.
“I’ll be concentrating on playing more on the Asian Tour this season and hopefully my performance this week can spur me on to better things,” said Singh.
Thailand’s Chinnarat Phadungsil, a three-time Asian Tour winner, is third on US$66,854 while Shiv Kapur of India shares fourth place with Angelo Que of the Philippines on US$51,538
ORDER OF MERIT – TOP-20
1. S.S.P. CHOWRASIA (IND) $405,180
2. Sujjan SINGH (IND) $94,082
3. Chinnarat PHADUNGSIL (THA) $66,854
4. Shiv KAPUR (IND) $51,538
4. Angelo QUE (PHI) $51,538.90
6. Chapchai NIRAT (THA) $39,723
6. Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) $39,723
6. Jeev Milkha SINGH (IND) $39,723
6. Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) $39,723
10. Mark FOSTER (ENG) $30,996
10. Jbe KRUGER (RSA) $30,996
10. Darren BECK (AUS) $30,996
13. Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) $25,283
13. Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) $25,283
13. Anthony KANG (USA) $25,283
16. Mars PUCAY (PHI) $20,212
16. Scott HEND (AUS) $20,212
16. Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND) $20,212
16. SIDDIKUR (BAN) $20,212
20. Rikard KARLBERG (SWE) $14,586
Photo - Asian Tour
Asian Tour GolfGreedy.com