The Delhi Golf Club raised a toast to SSP Chowrasia. The man who won the $2.5 million Indian Masters. And more importantly the DGC stood to cheer the man who fought back from a career-threatening injury in 2004 to script one of the biggest wins for an Indian in a European Tour event, playing in which has been the privilege of India’s few — who can afford to travel a lot.
A pint-sized caddie-turned pro getting a three-year exemption (to go with his Rs 1.5 crore-plus prize) on the European Tour was unbelievable. But then there is always a first in history. Ali Sher did it when he won the Asian Tour’s Indian Open twice in early nineties. On Sunday, Chowrasia too embossed his name in big fonts.
The course reverted to its usual parklands self, the gusts disappeared, restoring local flavour.
Most players here, adept at playing high ball through the winds, had been lucky all these blustery days as the locals struggled, including Chowrasia, to keep their punches in line.
But Sunday became a different story; Chowrasia’s swing had so far been affected by the wind. On Sunday, it made the ball travel wherever he wanted it to. He was more or less straight on the fairways, like on the 16th where he landed the ball on the point of intersection of the right-angled lines, from where he hit it onto the green. Or else on the 18th, 17th and, where he didn’t — on the 12th — his short game came into play, scooping the ball out of the pit behind the green before draining it.
Four-under overnight, SSP picked two strokes, and burst into lead, maintaining it without fail. Last round has been his bane but whenever he’s done well there, he’s won.
Selected Final scores
279 — Shiv Chowrasia, India (70-71-71-67); 281 — (Damien McGrane, Ireland (67-69-75-70); 283 — Jose Manuel Lara, Spain (68-72-71-72); 284 — Raphael Jacquelin, France (69-69-72-74); Digvijay Singh, India (70-70-74-70); 285 — (Thomas Bjorn, Denmark (68-72-74-71); Ernie Els, South Africa (75-70-69-71); Gaurav Ghei, India (75-69-70-71).