Chowrasia eyes historic hat-trick

SSP Chowrasia has set his sights on a first-ever hat-trick of European Tour victories by an Indian in India.

SSP Chowrasia has set his sights on becoming then first Indian to completing a hat-trick of European Tour victories in his homeland at this week’s Avantha Masters in New Delhi

The 33-year old beat England’s Robert Coles by a shot in this event last year to claim his second European Tour title in India.

He won his first at the EMAAR-MGF Indian Masters in 2008 when he became the first European Tour player to win on his debut appearance as an Affiliate Member.

Both victories came in the Indian capital New Delhi, the first at Delhi Golf Club, the second last year at the DLF Golf and Country Club to which he’ll be returning this week for his title defence.

“I’ve been practicing hard and I’m feeling really good,” a confident Chowrasia told the media this week. “I’ve done a bit of work on my swing over the off-season and it’s paying off. I’m feeling very confident about my game.

“Last year it was amazing to win in front of the home fans and it was great for Indian golf and Indian players. I was so happy. Golf in India is growing – cricket is number one, but golf is the next fastest growing sport – and I hope my victory inspires more people to play.

“I have great memories of the DLF Golf Club so I am very much looking forward to going back.

“To win again and make it three times in Delhi would be unbelievable.”

The home nation is well represented, in part because the tournament is tri-sanctioned by the European Tour, the Asian Tour and the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI).

One of thr4 home-grown international stars competing is Jeev Milkha Singh, arguably the pioneer of Indian golf and the man most Indian spectators want to see.

Singh, now 40, was the first Indian to qualify for The European Tour and has won three titles since, the last of which was in 2008.

He has also won the Asian Tour Order of Merit twice, in 2006 and 2008.

“It’s the third year in a row we have had a European Tour event in India, which is fantastic. The DLF is a great golf course, and of course it’s always a treat to play in front of your home crowds. I get a lot of support from the people there. I’m really looking forward to it,” he said this week.

“The course is an Arnold Palmer design. It’s tree-lined and management is very important on that golf course. The wind picks up this time of the year and the greens are quite grainy, so you’ve got to make sure you hit it onto the right level.”

The field for the €1.8 million event also includes former Open champion Todd Hamilton and John Daly, both of the USA, as well as the former world number one amateur Peter Uihlein, who in his first year in professional golf is campaigning in Europe.