Chowrasia secures fairytale victory

2/20/2011 9:37:57 AM
S S P Chowrasia  (Getty Images)
S S P Chowrasia (Getty Images)

S S P Chowrasia secured a home victory as he overcame Robert Coles in an exciting finish to the Avantha Masters.

The 32 year old Indian shot a closing round of 67 to finish 15 under par at DLF Golf and Country Club - one ahead of Coles, who saw his hopes of a first European Tour title denied in the cruellest of circumstances.

Chowrasia looked to be cruising as he notched up seven birdies in his first 14 holes.

But a double bogey at the par three 16th left the door open for Coles, who missed two golden birdie opportunities in the closing holes before taking four shots to get down from the edge of the green at the last.

“I had one bad tee shot on the 16th today - besides that it was an outstanding round,” said Chowrasia after landing the €300,000 first prize. “Even after the 16th I knew I had a chance to make birdies on the last two holes.

“However, when the birdies didn’t come my way, I was confident of taking it to a play-off. But fortunately for me, the play-off was not required.

“I am now ready to go back on The European Tour and have a real go at succeeding in Europe. That is my goal now, to succeed in Europe because I really struggled there in my first season – with the swing problems and also on the mental side of things.

“I am now going to sit down and rework my schedule so that I can have the best chance of success. I have a little more experience in Europe now and that is so important because I know the golf courses and know the cultures. It’s a really exciting time for me.”

Chowrasia started his round with a gain, added a 15 foot birdie putt at the fourth and sank putts of 15 and 40 feet at the seventh and eighth to turn in 32.

The impressive start continued after the turn with a ten foot putt at the tenth and his tee shot to the 11th was within six feet.

By the time Chowrasia birdied the 14th the rest of the field had been blown away – except for 38 year old third round leader Coles, whose approach at the seventh span back into the cup for eagle.

Chowrasia, whose other European Tour triumph also came in New Delhi at the 2008 Indian Masters, made his first mistake at the 16th when a rushed tee shot was pulled left, and led to a double bogey five.

Two closing pars saw Chowrasia set a clubhouse target of 15 under, with Coles on the same mark at that stage with four holes remaining.

And when he hit a dreamy approach to eight feet on the 15th, he must have thought his long wait for European Tour glory was coming to an end.

But he failed to convert and missed an even better chance at the penultimate hole.

Coming down the par five last, Coles still looked to be in command as he hit a perfect drive and left his second in greenside rough.

However, on a difficult downhill lie he thinned his chip 20 feet past, overcooked what would have been a tournament-winning putt and could not force a play-off with his eight foot return effort.

“The ball was really far below my feet and a bit of grass in between it and it was just a really awkward shot,” Coles said of his third shot at the 18th.

“I really needed to get underneath to get it up in the air as soon as I could but the ground was rock hard and it just kind of flew on me a bit.

“Then I got over the putt and I was still thinking I could make it and win the tournament, but I just hit it so hard and it flew out of the middle of the putter and then I obviously missed the one coming back.

“I hit a great drive down there and, let’s be honest, should have at least made par from there but the second shot was obviously adrenaline driven and then you saw what happened from there.

“It is obviously disappointing but I don’t feel too bad right now talking to you but I will probably feel a lot worse tomorrow when it sinks in. I did have a great chance to win.”

US Open Championship runner-up Grégory Havret claimed third on 13 under with a closing 68, with first round leader Robert-Jan Derksen fourth following a 69.