SSP Chawrasia

Gurugram, March 12 (IANS) Indian star golfer S.S.P. Chawrasia raced to a commanding seven-shot victory after carding a final round of one-under 71 to successfully defend his title at the $1.75 million Hero Indian Open here on Sunday.

The 38-year-old Chawrasia, who triumphed by two strokes last year at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC), registered his sixth triumph on the Asian Tour and fourth on the European Tour.

His four-day total at the demanding DLF Golf and Country Club’s Gary Player course was 10-under 278 (72-67-68-71).

The Kolkata player got richer by $291,660 and pushed him up to second place on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit behind American David Lipsky.

“Honestly, this is very special to win back-to-back. I think this is one of the toughest courses I’ve played in my career. This is probably my best win of my career as it was a really tough course. I learned many things and hopefully I can play better in Europe. That’s my target next, I have to win in Europe,” he said.

“I’m not comfortable on the course, I’m nervous on every single shot. When I finished the (third) round, I knew I had a few shots lead. I didn’t need birdies, just aiming for pars in the final round.

“After the tee shot on 18 (in the final round), only then I felt I’ve won the tournament. I still don’t understand the golf course. Hopefully I’ll play a few more times on this course then only will I know how to play it better.”

Malaysian rookie Gavin Green, playing on a sponsor’s invite, finished an impressive second after signing off with a three-over 75, with his sterling effort sealing his full playing rights for next season after picking a runner-up cheque worth $194,440.

Returning to DLF early Sunday to complete the last seven holes of his third round, the straight-shooting Chawrasia opened up a two-shot advantage after 54 holes, thanks to three straight birdies from the 13th to 15th holes.

Throughout the final round, the local favourite was never threatened, extending his lead to five through the turn after he bounced back for bogeys on six and seven with birdies on eight and nine.

Another birdie on 13 put daylight between him and the chasing pack and Chawrasia soon strolled home to his “best win” of his career yet in front of his adoring fans.

Scotsman Scott Jamieson (72) and Italian Matteo Manassero (73) shared the third place, eight behind the winner, while 2015 Asian Tour number one Anirban Lahiri (71) and Spanish duo Rafa Cabrera Bello (71) and Carlos Pigem (78) finished equal fifth on 287.

Thid-best Indian was Chiragh Kumar, who was tied 22nd with a total of five-over 293 (73-75-71-74).

S. Chikka, with a total of 295 (72-76-75-72) was tied 34th, while Shubhankar Sharma was tied 40th with a total of 297 (72-76-71-78).

Shamim Khan and Gaganjeet Bhullar shared the 43rd spot on 298 total.

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