Bengaluru: Indian star SSP Chawrasia will be aiming for another home victory at the inaugural US$300,000 TAKE Solutions Masters which will give him a huge boost in the Asian Tour Order of Merit race.
He needs a tied second place finish with one player to take over the Merit lead from David Lipsky, who is not in the elite field this week. Only US$25,799 separates them.
Chawrasia, 39, won his sixth Asian Tour title in his National Open in March and will be hoping to continue the impressive track record held by Indian golfers as they have won all seven Asian Tour events staged on home soil since 2014.
He will be joined by a host of Indian stalwarts including two-time Asian Tour number one Jeev Milkha Singh, Shiv Kapur, who won his second Asian Tour title earlier this year, and home boy Chikkarangappa S., a two-time winner of the event when it was staged on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) in 2014 and 2015.
Chikka will be hoping to land his first Asian Tour title in his home state of Bengaluru following victories in the event on the ADT albeit on a different golf course. He has yet to hit top form this year and hopes to turn the corner this week.
Nicholas Fung of Malaysia will enter the TAKE Solutions Masters as an Asian Tour winner following his impressive victory at the Queen’s Cup in Thailand in June. He will be among the strong international golfers aiming to break the Indian stranglehold on home soil.
Did you know?
- Chawrasia needs to finish at least joint second with one other golfer to overtake David Lipsky on the Order of Merit.
- Seven Indian golfers have won all the Asian Tour events on home soil since 2014. Chawrasia alone has won three of those titles.
- Chawrasia is a six-time Asian Tour winner, five of his victories have been in India. His only international win came at the 2016 Resorts World Manila Masters
- He is the son of a greenskeeper at Royal Calcutta Golf Club and his rise in golf is one of the most inspirational stories on the Asian Tour.
- Chawrasia and Chikkarangappa S. are sponsored by TAKE Solutions.
- Chikka won the TAKE Solutions Masters on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) in 2014 and 2015. In the first year, he overcame a six-shot deficit to win and in the following year defeated countryman Shubhankar Sharma on the first play-off hole.
- His best season was in 2016 where he finished in 26th place on the Order of Merit to secure a full Asian Tour card for this season. In 2017, he has yet to produce his best golf with a tied 27th being his best result.
- Chikka hails from Bangaluru and is close friends with Anirban Lahiri. They train under the same coach.
- Nicholas Fung is playing in his first Asian Tour event since winning the Queen’s Cup in Thailand in June. He is currently ranked 14th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
- This will be the first time Fung will be playing at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) Golf Course.
- The Karnataka course previously staged the 2012 Hero Indian Open. It has been five years since it hosted an Asian Tour tournament.
S.S.P. Chawrasia (Ind)
This is my favourite course. The conditions are great whenever I come here and play. The weather is fantastic as well. It is a good opportunity for all the players to play in a new Asian Tour event. We are thankful to TAKE Solutions for doing so much for golf in India.
Of course you play to win and I always try my best and hopefully I can do well. But if anybody else plays better than me, they deserve to take the trophy.
Yes, when I won the Hero Indian Open this year, I missed three cuts on the European Tour and now I’ve missed two cuts before this week. But in my mind, I’m only thinking about winning this trophy. I don’t want to think about the negative things.
Whenever I play on the Asian Tour, I have good confidence and this week is very important to me because I want to win the Order of Merit. I know what I need to do to take over the lead so I’m motivated to do well in front of my sponsors.
Certainly, winning the Asian Tour Order of Merit is on my mind. I have come close to it many times. All of India’s top stars like Jeev Milkha Singh, Jyoti Randhawa, Arjun Atwal and Anirban Lahiri have won it and I want to do the same. And it will also open a lot of doors for me.
Winning titles is very important for me and I have done that a lot of times on the Asian Tour and European Tour but now I want to add that Order of Merit trophy. A win this week will bring me closer to that goal and let’s how the rest of the season goes.
This is like a family event for me. When I won my first TAKE Solutions event, I was put on the world map (earned six Official World Golf Ranking points). In the second year, it felt like they took me in as a child and supported me with whatever I needed. So I want to keep the trophy in the family. I don’t want to let it go to another player.
The field is really good this week. I’m confident even though I haven’t had a good 2017. I’ve been rusty but when there’s an event on home soil, I’ve always done well. As the home boy, a lot of players ask for my advice on how to play the course. Normally I tell them a lot of secrets so they will have a lot of thoughts in their mind when playing (laughs).
(On winning on the Asian Tour) I had a lot of runner-ups on the local circuit before I found a way to win. I learnt a lot from there by taking out the positives. I really want to enjoy myself and I don’t want to think about winning yet.
Nicholas Fung (Mas)
After I finished second for a few times, it made me practice harder. I really believed in myself and knew that I could win one day. Before the Queen’s Cup, I was sick for 10 days and I told my dad that I will treat it like a holiday. Because of that, I had no pressure and I won.
The mind-set now has changed. I have no more pressure and I can play with a free mind. It will be an interesting week because there are so many good players this week. I really look forward to the challenge.