Om Prakash Chouhan, Delhi-NCR Open joint-leader, has eyes on Asian Tour Q-School
Doing well what he knows best --- golf, is Om Prakash Chouhan’s way of expressing gratitude to brother Deepak. Tied for the lead at seven-under 137 in the Delhi-NCR Open, Wednesday was another opportunity for the 29-year-old from Mhow to show how lucky he feels to be still playing.
But for the younger sibling’s life-changing decision, Chouhan would have quit in 2010 owing to hardship. “He volunteered to take up a job to support my golf and that turned it around,” said Chouhan. From Deepak’s first earning, Chouhan travelled to Gurgaon for a Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) event and the cheque of Rs. 76,625 was enough to rekindle hope. Not only did he get Deepak to quit and travel with him instead, Chouhan has progressed to become a serious contender --- notching up four wins on the PGTI and almost sealing the order of merit in 2014.
He swears Deepak “knows my game better than me”, and that’s the reason why he played a key hand at last year’s Panasonic Open, another watershed moment in Chouhan’s career. If turning out for an Asian Tour event had earlier meant additional pressure because of the tendency to put overseas players on a pedestal, this time the advice was to play the Delhi Golf Club as if it were a PGTI event.
The T2 finish not only cleared the mind, but set him up for the future. Short on practice due to family engagements, Chouhan contemplated not teeing up for last week’s Pune Open but did so at Deepak’s insistence. Happy the T2 finish gave him momentum for this week at the Noida Golf Course, Chouhan keeps reminding himself what he’s been told numerous times. “Deepak keeps asserting that my game is up there and it’s about belief.”
The words have had an impact as unlike a lot of homebred professionals --- not open to taking risks by venturing offshore, Chouhan is now looking outwards. On his schedule is the Asian Tour’s Q-School next year, and if he secures the card for 2019, it will one step at a time from thereon. He’s aware that making cut might be a task early on, given the unfamiliar turf, but he’s prepared as golf has taught him to grind it out.
137: Om Prakash Chouhan (68, 69); Karandeep Kochhar (65, 72)
138: Shankar Das (68, 70)
139: Honey Baisoya (70, 69)
140: M Dharma (70, 70); Digvijay Singh (69, 71); Ramesh Kumar (69, 71)
(Cut applied at three-over 147)