Melbourne, Australia: India’s SSP Chawrasia hopes to sweeten his season with a memorable debut alongside newcomer Chikkarangappa S. at the US$8 million ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf which starts on Thursday.
Chawarasia flew into Melbourne for the prestigious 28-nation team competition at Kingston Heath Golf Club in confident mood after winning his fifth Asian Tour title and a second one this season at the Resorts World Manila Masters a fortnight ago.
With 24-year-old Chikkarangappa also in good form, thanks to three recent top-10s on the Asian Tour, the Indian team is quietly confident of challenging for the World Cup of Golf trophy.
“Winning obviously makes your confidence go higher. I feel really good and I’m looking forward to the week. Chikka will also win very soon, he’s a great player and I’m sure the win will come next year,” said Chawrasia, who won the Hero Indian Open earlier in March.
Chikkarangappa is the new kid on the block but he is keen to quickly establish himself on the international front with a solid showing in his World Cup of Golf debut.
They got their week off onto a strong note by jointly winning a charity shoot-out with New Zealand’s Ryan Fox and Danny Lee at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Tuesday afternoon.
“Playing in a top field, we’re happy to be competing with them and it’s a great opportunity for us to go out there and do our best. We’re in good form, so we’re looking forward to the week,” said Chikkarangappa.
“After S.S.P. picked me as his partner, a lot of people have said that I’ve been given a great opportunity to play in the World Cup at such a young age. We want to go out there and try to make our country proud.”
Chawrasia said winning in the Philippines, which was his first title outside of India, was like getting a monkey off his back and he hopes to ride on his rich vein of form.
“This is a really good course, I’m really enjoying myself here. My partner is playing good golf this year, so I think I’ve picked the right partner. We want to do our best and at the same time, we want to enjoy ourselves too and there’s a top field with the likes of Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler playing as well,” said Chawrasia.
“Back home last week, everyone was giving us encouragement especially after I won in Manila. Everyone is pushing us to succeed, which is a good thing as we’re getting a lot of support from our fans.”
While Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and Ryo Ishikawa, Australia’s Scott and Marc Leishman and the American pairing of Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker will start as favourites, Chawrasia does not want to start thinking of matters that he cannot control.
“We won’t focus on the other teams. We’ll go out there to enjoy ourselves. We’ll have a clear mind, play our own games and if we play well, we can beat the other teams. I don’t think I’ll be telling Chikka what to do as he’s a rising star,” said Chawrasia.
Like Chawrasia, Chikkarrangappa also enjoyed his time at the MCG which was in support of HANDA Foundation, The Starlight Foundation and Monash Children’s Hospital.
“It’s been a great atmosphere this week, looking at the facilities and golf course at Kingston Heath which has been brilliant. And to do this charity shootout at the MCG is also a wonderful experience,” he said.
“Being a team event, it’s going to be a bit different especially in the alternate shot. It’s going to be a team effort. We’ll work together to hit the right shots for the right results. We’ll be going to advice each other as much as possible.”