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Chawrasia seeking a historic hat-trick


SSP Chawrasia will be staring a unique, history-making feat in the face when he tees off as the defending champion in this week's Hero Indian Open at the DLF Country Club in New Delhi.

The 39-year-old Indian star is in a position to become the first man to win the same tournament in three consecutive years and only the second to do it on the European Tour. 

Tiger Woods was the first. He won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

And yes, the feat is well within Chawrasia's grasp - if his apparent love for the unforgiving Gary Player-designed championship course at DFL CC where only seven players broke par last year and only Chawrasia broke 70 in all four rounds, and, of course, if his stunning performance history in this week's event means anything. 

He has bestrode the championship of the World's second largest nation like a Colossus, winning it in both his last two starts and finishing as the runner-up on each of the other four occasions he has played in it.

And, of course, the fact that the bulk of Europe's highest ranked players are all campaigning in the USA at the moment ahead of next month's opening Major of the year, The Masters at Augusta National, should make his task that much easier

Chowraia, though, is not everybody's favourite this week, and this is almost certainly because he is battling right now to find his A-Game and has a history this season of missing the cut three times in five starts and finishing 53rd and 55th in the other two.

The British bookmakers certainly don't see him as a winner - even on a course, that seems to have been made for him. 

At 22/1 they have listed him in the sixth position behind their favourite, Shubankar Sharma (11/1), India's lastest star, Anirban Lahiri ( 12/1), another home favourite who in 2015 won the first Indian Open to be co-sanctioned by the European Tour, and three of the highest-ranked players in the field, Dutchman Joost Luiten (14/1), Argentina's Emiliano Grillo (16/1) and England's Chris Wood, also at 16/1.

Fantasy golf tipsters Dave Tindall, warns that you should "Never ever, ever rule him out on home soil!" But he ranks Chawrasia no higher than the bookies.

Tindall sees Luiten, Grillo, Lahiri, Sharma and Korea's Wang Jeung-hun as better bets.

Of all of these players, Sharma has been the standout this season having already won twice on the European Tour before dramatically grabbing the lead from most of the world's best golfers in the second round of last week's WGC Mexico Championship and then holding on to it in the third round before falling away into a final 9th place on Sunday.

That's quite something - coming as it did from a man who was virtually unknown outside of India less than a year ago - but if Sharma has not got more backers this week it is almost certainly because he'll be teeing off on Thursday after clocking up an exhausting 9 000 miles in the past few months and also because, in between his victories in the Joburg Open and Maybank Championships, he has missed a few cuts and at this stage of his career, he can hardly be called 'Mr Consistency'.

It's only been three years since the Indian Open joined the European Tour, but with Lahira beating Chawrasia in a playoff in 2015 and Chawrasia capturing his nation's professional golf crown in the next two years, the locals have turned it into something of a closed shop.

And unless the likes of offshore invaders like Luiten, Grillo, Wood and Wang, can come up with something exceptional on a course whose disputed length has never been a problem for short hitters and great scramblers like Chowrasia, it might just stay that way.

(Tuesday a.m. March 6, 2018)

Shubankar Sharma 11/1
Anirban Lahiri 12/1
Joost Luiten 14/1
Emiliano Grillo 16/1 
Chris Wood 16/1 
S S P Chawrasia 22/1 
Pablo Larrazabal 25/1 
Paul Peterson 25/1
Wang Jeung-hun 30/1
Scott Jamieson 33/1
Andrew Johnston 33/1    
Erik van Rooyen 35/1
Julian Suri 35/1 
Marcus Kinhult 35/1 
Stephen Gallacher 45/1
Hideto Tanihara 50/1
Matt Wallace 50/1
Miguel Tabuena 55/1
Scott Vincent 55/1
Wade Ormsby 60/1. 

NOTE: For all the latest odds, go to