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  Sports   In Other sports  11 Mar 2017  Indian Open: ‘Bulldog’ Chawrasia emerges on top

Indian Open: ‘Bulldog’ Chawrasia emerges on top

THE ASIAN AGE. | RAHUL BANERJI
Published : Mar 11, 2017, 1:42 am IST
Updated : Mar 11, 2017, 5:59 am IST

Sixty-six golfers — including Chawrasia — had to do that on Friday to complete their first 18 holes.

S.S.P. Chawrasia in action on Day Two of the Indian Open.
 S.S.P. Chawrasia in action on Day Two of the Indian Open.

New Delhi: The Gary Player course at the DLF Golf and Country Club may have bared its fangs on the opening day of the $1.75 million Hero Indian Open, but defending champion Shiv Shankar Prasad Chawrasia showed on Day Two that he could bite back.

Described as a “bulldog, who just doesn’t let go” by fellow Indian Open winner Anirban Lahiri on tournament eve, Chawrasia built on his par first round with a tenacious, even enthralling display on Friday to card a bogey-free five under par 67.

It was one of only two blemishless cards over the first two days of the Open, an indication of how players have struggled to come to terms with the narrow and undulating fairways, thick rough and lightning-fast greens

Chawrasia sits on a one-stroke clubhouse lead over his playing partner, Englishman David Horsey, as rain, hail and thunderstorms played havoc with the schedule yet again. Almost half the field will be back early on Saturday to complete the second round.

Sixty-six golfers — including Chawrasia — had to do that on Friday to complete their first 18 holes.

“First day I was level par as I was a little bit scared as it’s a new course and it’s very tricky. Overall I played good today. Today, I shot five under and I’m very happy,” Chawrasia said afterwards.

“My hitting was good and some putts dropped, that’s why I made five under. I’m getting used to it but I’m still learning. Two more days and I’ll try to keep learning how to play this.

“I’ll keep the same strategy. Hit it straight and putt well. Very simple.”

Keeping things simple is probably the defending champion’s greatest asset. On Friday, he was accurate, and at times innovative where he needed to be in carding one of just 12 sub-par completed scores for the day. Starting in an early group, the champion was happy to have finished the round before weather intervened, and he marked the round with two massive putts besides birdeing the par-4 14th hole, where he had dropped a shot on Thursday.

Spain’s Carlos Pigem, a one-time winner on the Asian Tour, returned a 73 to stay in the hunt following a topsy-turvy day that included two double bogeys which left him three off the pace.

Amongst those yet to complete their second round was Italy’s Matteo Manassero, who stood at three under for the tournament through seven holes, two shots behind SSP.

Local boy Shubhankar Sharma and three-time winner Jyoti Randhawa were the two Indians closest to the leader on one-over par totals, though the former had barely teed off when the weather intervened.

Round Three will tee off only after 12.30 pm on Saturday.

Tags: ssp chawrasia, anirban lahiri, hero indian open