Gurugram, March 10, 2017: SSP Chawrasia is a simpleton in a world of sophistry. But instead of treating it as a handicap – he wears it with a smile and treats it like a weapon. The fancy world of golf is filled with personalities shaped by image consultants. Chawrasia is a rare self-made champion, with an uncanny ability to focus on the basics. He used it to good effect on Friday to mount an impressive expedition to the top of the Hero Indian Open leaderboard.
In the battle of the titans on the second day, Chawrasia emerged a clear winner over a fumbling David Horsey. Separated by six strokes at the start of the day, Chawrasia scripted an incredible second round 67 to edge past the overnight leader, who shot a 74. The 256thranked Indian was spotless on Friday even as he racked up birdies at the 5th, 8th, 11th, 14th and 15th holes.
Chawrasia walked the undulating meadows that make up the DLF Golf & Country Club with verve and purpose. The diminutive man from Kolkata proved yet again that imagination can trump power, if applied with discipline.
Simple sauce to Chawrasia’s success
The media asked him about the secret sauce that helped him bridge a massive gap. “My strategy is to Play straight and putt well,” said Chawrasia with a disarming grin that shone through his sparkling eyes. He likes to keep it simple and his answers to the media often reflect that philosophy.
Chawrasia well stitched game is a regal piece of craftsmanship though, built on a healthy recipe of intuition and solid execution. He made three monstrous putts on Friday.
After making a brilliant birdie putt at the 5th from 25 feet, Chawrasia added another from 20 feet two holes later. The cherry on his cake came at the 14th hole. Lying 40 feet from the flag, Chawrasia squatted down to read a left to right line to perfection.
“I’m getting used to the course now, but am still learning along the way,” added Chawrasia, ever the student of the game. “I am trying to understand the course.”
Chawrasia was probed by Golfing Indian about the reasons for the course being such a tough challenge. “This is a tricky course – the greens are tough and (navigating it) needs complete focus,” informed Chawrasia. “The fairways are narrow too, so any mistake can prove to be expensive.”
How do you prepare for the weekend with a title to defend? “I woke up at 4 am today as I had an early start since my round was unfinished from yesterday,” said Chawrasia. “I’m now looking forward to some much needed rest as I know I’ll be starting late on Saturday.”
It was an interesting experience walking with the Chawrasia group today. Scott Hend and David Horsey was constantly landing farther than the Indian, but in the end it was the Indian with the last word at most holes. “I focus on my own game. My opponents are always laying up farther, but golf is not only about distance,” said Chawrasia, explaining his approach to the game.
Chawrasia’s legion of fans will hope that the Indian can keep his formula brewing through the weekend. He could become the first man since Jyoti Randhawa in 2007 to defend the Indian Open title, if he can continue turning his weakness into weaponry on this treacherous course.