Chowrasia oozes confidence
S.S.P. Chowrasia is a firm believer in falling in line with the exigencies of the hour. If the past week called for merriment following his astounding run in the Indian Masters, the time was ripe on Tuesday to toss aside the gaiety.
The putting range may have been a meeting point for a few jovial global journeymen, but far removed from all distractions, the slightly built golfer went about his task with clinical precision. "I took a week's break and enjoyed to the hilt. I now need to concentrate on my game," said the 29-year-old ahead of the $400,000 SAIL Open at the Jaypee Greens in Noida.
The absence of Jeev Milkha Singh, deciding to "take a week's break", Shiv Kapur and Arjun Atwal, a last-minute withdrawal due to health reasons, may have shorn the Asian Tour and PGTI co-sanctioned event of some of its sheen, but the Indian challenge, spearheaded by Chowrasia and Jyoti Randhawa, is sure to be tested by the foreign field that boasts of names like Chinnarat Phadungsil and Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, Lu Wen-teh, Aussie Scott Hend, Singapore's Mardan Mamat besides old India hands Hendrik Buhrmann of South Africa and American Mike Cunning.
With two Asian Tour titles already under his belt, the Thai young gun will be keen to scorch the greens with his stroke play. Having recovered from a wrist injury, Hend, a former US PGA Tour player, would be keen to get over last year's disappointment with some purposeful play. Lu had a fruitful 2007 and the veteran from the Chinese Taipei would be out to carry forward his form.
Sandwiched between the Indian Masters and next week's Johnnie Walker Classic and other on-going European Tour events may have hit the tournament in terms of participation, but the depletion in numbers did little to make Chowrasia lower his guard. "The greens are playing much faster this time and that will make it tougher," he said predicting an edge for long-hitters like Jyoti on this lengthy course while remaining supremely confident of his art.
Old hand Gaurav Ghei concurred with the length of the greens but appeared dissatisfied "at the absence of roughs". News came in that Chowrasia had a chance of playing in the World Golf Championship, provided he maintained his position in the European Order of Merit, and the affable golfer soaked in the news with quiet dignity but made no attempt to hide his glee over the conditions. "After the biting cold at the DGC, this is perfect. As a Calcuttan, the cold makes my hands tremble," he said.