NEW DELHI: A two-foot putt was all that stood between SSP Chawrasia and back-to-back titles at the Indian Open, a feat only two other players in history had achieved.
He took a deep breath, sank the putt, and the white cap was off in a flash. The smile was wider than the biggest airport hangar, and soon enough, he was bathed by his team. A kiss to Simantini — his wife — followed and he was inarguably the happiest man at the DLF Golf and Country Club. It was a poignant moment, to say the least. The 38-year-old has had enough heartbreaks in previous editions of this tournament that he can write a couple of books on them.
In this installment, though, his robotic precision and an ‘I will not miss this’ attitude has helped him win a fourth time on the European Tour (all four, interestingly, have come in India). A good second round put him on path, but on Sunday morning — when he completed his third round thanks to poor weather conditions all through the weekend — he turned into a different beast. A hat-trick of birdies on the 14th, 14th and 15th holes took him two clear of the chasing pack with 18 holes to go.
It wasn’t a done deal, but nobody could live with the Kolkata man in the final round. In the end, his winning margin – 10-under 278 for a win by seven strokes – made it look like a formality. It was anything but, according to him.
“After bogeys on the sixth and seventh holes (on the fourth round), I was a bit edgy,” he said. “My intention was to aim for pars in the final round. But after that, I had to shoot a few birdies.”
He did that three times (8th, 9th and 13th), and that made it into a one-horse race. “I feel great as it’s one of the toughest courses I’ve played on,” he said. “This is probably the best win of my career. I gave my hundred per cent and I practiced a lot on everything.” Not for nothing do they say that practice makes a man perfect.