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Chowrasia swings it right

other Updated: Feb 21, 2011 00:14 IST
Robin Bose
Robin Bose
Hindustan Times
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Surrounded by a few faithfuls, SSP Chowrasia was going through the motion of sending the ball soaring at the driving range. As per his wish, the swing seemed fine. "It was the posture that had caused it (swing) to go awry but that's been looked into," were his words before the Avantha Masters. Yet, he seemed to be restive and every now and then threw a glance backwards.

The focus was on charting overnight leader Robert Coles's progress, or regress as it came to be known, while he tried to capitalise on Chowrasia's lone blemish.

"I was fearing all was lost, but after Coles missed the short birdie putt on the 17th, I got hopeful of a play-off. When he dropped a shot on the final hole, the relief was immeasurable," said the diminutive Kolkatan, struggling to keep balance while being cradled to the felicitation arena.

Two strokes shy of the Briton on the final day, Chowrasia was off like a hare. His clubs working in tandem - the irons ensuring the ball landed on the greens and the putter coming into play, meant he had picked up four shots by the time the turn was made. Coles did pull level with an eagle on the 7th but the ensuing bogey took care that the Indian had his nose ahead.

The hours of practice with the putter - placing it between two shafts and ensuring it did not touch either as the club moved, was rewarded with back-to-back birdies at the start of the back nine and another on the 14th.

At 17-under, a two stroke lead, and the putter holing monstrous putts, Chowrasia looked to have got even with the DLF Golf & Country Club, a venue where he had failed to make the cut in an international event before this week.

The need was to hold steady but the faulty tee-shot on the 16th had a cascading effect that culminated in a double bogey and added a twist to the tale. The infectious smile playing all along, Chowrasia kept attacking the greens but had to make do with par. Probably, this is where a mental trainer could step in. "The hunt is on but am yet to find a competent one," said Chowrasia.

The mind juggling with the prospect of a play-off or even defeat, he set off for the range. Every passing minute added to the agony till Coles's missed putt put an end to it.

The cheque of euro 300,000 was his and along with it came add-ons like the crystal-studded trophy, a leapfrog to 6th in the Race to Dubai rankings and a second European Tour win at home (The 2008 Indian Masters at Delhi Golf Club was his first).

Having come through the grind, the 32-year-old is not one to belittle the gains but uppermost was the joy of having regained full playing rights on the Tour till the end of 2013. "I was searching for that elusive week, it's here. Europe, here I come!" he exclaimed.