March 6, 2017: Here’s a recap on how S.S.P. Chawrasia claimed a dream victory for his fourth Asian Tour title at the Hero Indian Open last season.
Chawrasia finally lifts home Open victory
It proved to be another case of ‘so near yet so far’ in his life-long dream to hoist his national championship, the Hero Indian Open, as he finished runner-up for an agonising fourth time.
The painful defeat was amplified when his wife buried her head in his shoulders after the showdown, sobbing over another miss at glory.
A lesser man would have simply given up hope on winning the tournament that all Indian golfers crave for. But not Chawrasia.
At the 2016 Hero Indian Open, the ever-smiling Indian was resolute to not let history repeat itself.
He was prepared for another titanic duel against rival and close friend Lahiri, who arrived home as the reigning Asian Tour number one following a season to remember in 2015.
The final 18 holes at the venerable Delhi Golf Club proved to be a dramatic finale. It was a close, it was tense and it was exciting as a multitude of contenders came within striking range of Chawrasia’s lead when he stood at one-over-par through 12 holes on Sunday.
A renowned fighter, Chawrasia rallied with a birdie on 13 to give himself some breathing space and when it mattered most, he produced a sublime approach into the last green – which Lahiri sportingly applauded from the greenside – to set up a closing three foot birdie for a closing one-under-par 71.
“It is a very important day for me. I have finished second four times in the Indian Open and every time, I’d wondered if I would ever be the champion. This year, I came believing I had to win. I knew I could do it.” – S.S.P. Chawrasia
After the ball disappeared into the cup, there were only tears of joy this time for Chawrasia, who earned US$276,660 with his winning aggregate of 15-under-par 273.
“This win means so much to me. I don’t know how I will celebrate it. I will let my wife do that for me. Last year when I lost, she was crying so now we can both enjoy this victory together,” smiled Chawrasia, who claimed his fourth Asian Tour title.
“It is a very important day for me. I have finished second four times in the Indian Open and every time, I’d wondered if I would ever be the champion. This year, I came believing I had to win. I knew I could do it,” he added.
Lahiri was forced to finish third despite a valiant effort to catch his countryman in the event jointly sanctioned with the European Tour. He birdied the opening three holes but failed to keep his foot on the pedal.
However he was delighted that Chawrasia succeeded him as champion of the Hero Indian Open. “There is nothing sweeter than being the Indian Open champion. It was a disappointing finish after a promising start for me. But I am so happy for S.S.P. This win is huge for him,” said Lahiri.
Korea’s Jeunghun Wang finished second after a bogey-free 68 to come close to a maiden Asian Tour victory which would subsequently arrive in the coming months. “I gave my best out there. I’m very proud with how I played. I had a chance to win but it is okay because Chawrasia played very well,” said the 20-year-old.
Without the benefit of a practice round, Filipino Angelo Que of fired a stunning closing 65 to finish tied fourth alongside Brazil’s Adilson Da Silva on 276s, three shots from the champion.