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SSP Chawrasia two off pace at Panasonic Open golf, primed for another DGC win

SSP Chawrasia has won thrice on the tricky Delhi Golf Club court and is well-placed to push joint leaders Shiv Kapur and Paul Peterson in the final round of Panasonic Open golf on Sunday.

other sports Updated: Nov 04, 2017 19:57 IST
Robin Bose
Robin Bose
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
SSP Chawrasia,Panasonic Open,Golf
SSP Chawrasia is in a good position after the third round of the Panasonic Open.(Panasonic Open)

Save the flash of brilliance at the end -- Shiv Kapur and Paul Peterson closing with eagle on the 18th to take a one-shot lead at the Panasonic Open, perseverance was the catchword at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) on Saturday.

Two shots off at 11-under 205, SSP Chawrasia’s round was no different, signing for a card of three-under 69. But then, he is adept at playing the waiting game on the golf course. Off it, it was the wait for the Arjuna.

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The award’s his now, but he remembers the early days that led to it. Growing up in the vicinity of the late Jamshed Ali, SSP idolised him not just for his skill in golf but the Arjuna he got in 1975.

The statuette of the warrior prince caught the boy’s fancy, and he made it a mission to have one.

Till recently, SSP carried the image of the award Jamshed got back from the Rashtrapati Bhavan on his phone. Time took a toll on the photograph, but it continued to serve the purpose -- telling SSP that winning tournaments was the way to it.

He did that, winning the Indian Open the second time in a row in March, having got the monkey off the back by winning outside India late last year.

READ | Golf: Mukesh Kumar, son of soil, aims to drive home family resolve

The Arjuna is his now, and after receiving it on the National Sports Day, SSP deleted the photograph he’d cherished for so long. It wasn’t disrespect to Jamshed, it was a case of the present taking precedence. “I had one, so I could let go,” he said.

The rush in the veins while receiving the trophy will recur, and Sunday could be his fourth title at DGC, but holding the Arjuna in the maroon blazer is a one-off experience. “It’s tough to explain what goes on when a childhood dream is fulfilled,” he said.

SSP knows of the pitfalls that come with the award, considered the ultimate in sporting excellence in these parts. “I am aware (of slackening pace), and have examples to go by, but I’m still on the road and have a long way to go.”

The Arjuna has ticked a box; from here it’s on to the next level. Since his breakthrough win at the DGC in 2008, which was on the European Tour, the desire to perform in that continent burns bright.

“There was a lot of talk that I couldn’t win outside India, but then Manila happened. It took time but came alright.”

It’s his “strength” that’s holding him back. “I’ve been playing well but putting has been a letdown (in Europe). The putter did go cold initially on Saturday, but with three titles here, including the 2014 Panasonic Open, SSP has enough memories and the skill to see him through on Sunday.

Round 3 leaderboard

203: Shiv Kapur (65, 69, 69); Paul Peterson (69, 64, 70)

204: Shamim Khan (66, 69, 69)

205: Om Prakash Chouhan (70, 69, 66); Sudhir Sharma (69, 70, 66); SSP Chawrasia (67, 69, 69)

206: Thaworn Wiratchant (67, 71, 68)

First Published: Nov 04, 2017 19:50 IST