SSP Chawrasia has been rewarded for his third European Tour victory on home soil at the Hero Indian Open by being named the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Month for March.
Having finished runner-up on four previous occasions in his national Open, the 37 year old showed nerves of steel as he produced a gutsy final round 71 to hold off the challenges of compatriot and 2015 champion Anirban Lahiri, and Korean Jeunghun Wang.
The Kolkata player’s rise to the highest echelons of world golf is even more remarkable given his humble beginnings. Having grown up in a hut on the edge of Calcutta Golf Club, where his father was a member of the greenkeeping staff, he had to wait a full year after turning professional before he could afford to add a driver to his bag.
Chawrasia receives Hilton HHonors Diamond Elite Status – the highest tier of the hotel’s renowned loyalty scheme – after beating Louis Oosthuizen and Rafa Cabrera-Bello to the award.
Chawrasia said: “I’m very happy to be the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Month and I’m very thankful to Hilton for this award.
“I finished second four times at that event obviously, so to finally win it was incredible and bonuses like this make it extra special. I saw the galleries at the 18th and with two Indians playing together, the atmosphere was great.
“After the tournament, Royal Kolkata Golf Club had a party for me with members and friends, so I have been having a very good time since my win.”
Bonuses like this make it extra special.
South African Oosthuizen was voted in second place after his impressive showing at the WGC-Dell Match Play, finishing runner-up after falling to a 5&4 defeat to World Number One Jason Day in the final.
The panel, comprising members of the golfing media, awarded Cabrera-Bello third place after he beat Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy in the consolation match in Texas to secure a third place finish which moved the Spaniard to a career-high 34th in the World Ranking, and earned him a debut appearance in the Masters.
Neil Squires, of the Daily Express, said: “I think in golf, there really is a big gulf between the winner and the rest, so it is only right that we went with a tournament winner. And I think Chawrasia’s story is a very nice one – winning on home soil having come close so many times in his national Open.
“Oosthuizen certainly wouldn’t be far behind after his performance at the Match Play. However, he didn’t win and I think Chawrasia is a more than worthy recipient of this award.”
James Corrigan, of the Daily Telegraph, added: “I think Rory’s excellence should be recognised in getting top five finishes at the two World Golf Championship events, but he has set the bar so high for himself and I think he might have been disappointed not to have won at least one of them.
“Therefore the vote has to go to SSP, not least because he held off a very strong player in Anirban Lahiri, which is no mean feat. His rags to riches tale is a great story, and he’s a very worthy winner.”
HHonors Diamond Elite Status will provide Chawrasia with a host of fantastic benefits at 4,600 hotels within the Hilton portfolio around the world, including complimentary access to Executive Floors, late checkouts, 48-hour room guarantees and, pending availability, complimentary room upgrades.
Hilton, the Official Hotel Supplier to The European Tour, is the Official Sponsor of the European Tour Golfer of the Month award, which recognises and rewards the best performances of European Tour members each month.
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