India’s S.S.P. Chowrasia believes that he is capable of pulling off a hat-trick of wins on home soil when the Avantha Masters, the first event to be is tri-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and PGTI this season, tees off at the DLF Golf and Country Club on Thursday.
The defending champion has shown his knack for winning at home with his two Asian Tour victories coming from Indian soil and welcomes the challenge from an elite field that includes two-time Major winner John Daly of the United States, 2004 British Open winner Todd Hamilton of the United States, 2010 Avantha Masters winner Andrew Dodt of Australia and China’s Liang Wen-chong.
Since winning his second Asian Tour title at the Avantha Masters last year, Chowrasia’s winning form has deserted him with the 33-year-old failing to make the cuts in several of the events he played in last year.
Chowrasia’s early exits were mainly due to his loss in form and errant driving. However, with the new season getting underway, the defending champion is confident that he can regain his winning mentality and return to the pinnacle of the game.
“Playing at home is always a nice feeling as I’ve won twice here. I’m beginning to get my swing back and I’m happy with how my game’s shaping up,” said Chowrasia.
“Everyone wants to get their season off to a great start and I’m no different. I started the season with an early win last year and I believe that I can do the same again this week,” added the Indian of his title ambitions at the Avantha Masters, which holds a significant place on the Asian Tour Schedule as it is the richest tournament in India, thanks to its US$2.3 million prize fund.
Meanwhile Liang, who was the first Chinese player to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2007, hopes that his return to India will be another unforgettable one.
Liang created headlines in 2008 when he not only secured his second Asian Tour win at the Hero Honda Indian Open, he also set a new 18-hole Tour record with a stunning 12-under-par 60 in the opening round.
“Obviously returning to India brings back lots of good memories as I’ve a good track record here. I enjoy coming back to India and I always feel happy each time I’m here. That is important as it sets you in the right frame of mind for the rest of the week,” said Liang.
Although the season has just started, the 33-year-old Chinese is determined to set the tone early for a long season ahead.
“The season has just begun for me and I want to start strongly. I’m feeling good about my form and the country so all these are the positive signs that I can take coming into this week,” said Liang.
After two barren years since his last victory in 2010, Dodt hopes that he can return to the winner’s circle with another triumphant performance at the Avantha Masters which is the first of the four events scheduled to be played in India this season.
“The last two years have been very ordinary and I haven’t really got on with it. But I feel like I’m getting closer to the form that I had two years ago. My game is in a pretty good shape,” said the Australian.
Buoyed by memories of his career breakthrough at the same venue where he will be competing this week, the 25-year-old hopes that he can end his title drought at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
“Each time I come through the front entrance, it brings back good memories and hopefully I can take back with me again this week,” said the 2010 Avantha Masters winner.