Published:March 1, 2017 3:41 pm
Local favourite SSP Chawrasia is looking forward to the defence of his Hero Indian Open title next week, saying he will ride on ‘positive energy” in a bid to hold on to the prestigious crown.
The five-time Asian Tour winner is unperturbed with the fact that he will tee up at a different venue for this year’s campaign, with the Gary Player-designed DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon hosting the USD 1.75 million tournament from March 9 to 12.
“This time, it’s going to be a different course (than the Delhi Golf Club) and it may have a different feel. However, I’m still very excited and I’m looking forward to defending my title,” said Chawrasia.
“I’ve played at DLF previously but it’s now a totally different layout. It’s going to be new for everyone and I’m sure the set-up will be good. I’ve heard it’s a very tricky course.”
After a solid 2016 campaign where he won twice on the Asian Tour to finish sixth on the Order of Merit, Chawrasia has yet to get his game out of first gear in the new season, with a tied 35th finish in Perth being his best result.
However, he is optimistic his fortunes will change when he steps into the DLF course as the Hero Indian Open champion.
“I’ve finished in second place on four occasions and to finally win it last year, it felt great. I was really happy as finally, I was the Indian Open champion and I had the trophy in my hands,” Chawrasia said.
“It’s special because it’s our national event. It’s a very old tournament and every Indian golfer wants to win it at least once in their lifetime. When I arrive for the tournament every year, I’m always feeling very positive about myself. I guess it’s because I’ve finished well on so many occasions. There’s always a lot of positive energy when I’m at the tournament. I always feel good and I’m sure it’ll be the same when I get back there.”
Chawrasia’s joy in winning his home Open was meaningful, more so when he had to comfort his wife, Simantini, who was in tears after he finished second again in 2015.
“My wife was crying when I lost in the previous year to Anirban. She was expecting me to win the tournament and I said we can’t win every tournament. So, she was very happy when I won last year. She was jumping all over the place and it felt as though like she had won the tournament! I enjoyed watching her reaction. We had a great time,” he said.
Next week’s Hero Indian Open will be headlined by Ryder Cup star Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain, 2015 Asian Tour number one Anirban Lahiri, Australian Brett Rumford and Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat.