India’s SSP Chowrasia has set his sights on completing a hat-trick of European Tour wins in his home country in this week’s Avantha Masters.
The 33 year old triumphed by one shot from England’s Robert Coles last year to claim his second European Tour title following his victory in the EMAAR-MGF Indian Masters in 2008, when he became the first player to win on his debut appearance as an Affiliate Member.
Both victories came in the Indian capital New Delhi, the first at Delhi Golf Club and last season at DLF Golf and Country Club, and he returns to the latter to defend his title in a confident mood.
“I’ve been practising hard and I’m feeling really good,” said Chowrasia. “I’ve done a bit of work on my swing over the off-season and it’s paying off. I’m feeling very confident about my game.
“Last year was amazing to win in front of the home fans and great for Indian golf and Indian players. I was so happy. Golf in India is growing – cricket is number one but golf is the next fastest growing sport – and I hope my victory inspires more people to play.
“I have great memories of the DLF Golf Club from last year so I am very much looking forward to going back. To win again and make it three times in Delhi would be unbelievable.”
The home nation is well represented, as the tournament is tri-sanctioned between The European Tour, the Asian Tour and the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), and the crowds will have the opportunity to watch Jeev Milkha Singh, arguably the pioneer of Indian golf.
The 40 year old was the first Indian to qualify for The European Tour and has won three titles, the last of which was in 2008. He has also won the Asian Tour Order of Merit twice, in 2006 and 2008.
“It’s the third year in a row we have had a European Tour event in India, which is fantastic. The DLF is a great golf course, and of course it’s always a treat to play in front of your home crowds. I get a lot of support from the people there. I’m really looking forward to it.
“The course is an Arnold Palmer design. It’s tree-lined and management is very important on that golf course. The wind picks up this time of the year and the greens are quite grainy, so you've got to make sure you hit it in the right level.”
The field for the €1.8 million event also includes Major Champions Todd Hamilton and John Daly, as well as former world number one amateur Peter Uihlein.