Chawrasia moves two clear of Siddikur at Hero Indian Open -2015

  |    February 22nd, 2015   |   209

New Delhi 21 February 2015 (N4C Sports)- Three-time runner-up in the last 16 years, SSP Chawrasia, who won on his last start at the Delhi Golf Club, is looking at the a second successive win at the venue and his third one in a co-sanctioned event, as he holds a two-shot lead after 54 holes in the Hero Indian Open on Saturday.Chawrasia-indian-GolferOn Saturday, traditionally the moving day in golf, Chawrasia and Siddikur, whose hometowns Kolkata and Dhaka are separated by a mere 325 kilometers, played in a near match-play situation.

Chawrasia birdied the first two holes and Siddikur birdied the first and then they parred their way to the 13th which was birdied again by the duo. At that stage Chawrasia was 13-under and Siddikur 11-under.

The lead doubled suddenly after that and Chawrasia went four clear after the 15th as Siddikur visited the jungle on the right and double bogeyed the hole.

Two holes later Chawrasia, bogey-free for 52 holes, saw his streak come to an end at the 17th after he missed the green on the par-3 hole. That reduced the margin to three. On the next hole, Siddikur fought back further with a birdie on 18th, even as Chawrasia’s birdie putt slid past the hole to further reduce the margin to two.

The duo will be back on Sunday for another chapter in their epic.

Australian Marcus Fraser carded a bogey-free 67 to sit in third place, five shots off the pace, while Daniel Chopra made a brilliant eagle three on the 18th hole for the day’s low round of 65 to share fourth place alongside Prayad Marksaeng (69) of Thailand.

Home favourite Anirban Lahiri mounted a brief charge before dropping several shots on the back nine to settle for a 70 to tie for sixth place with Paul Peterson of the United States on a 208 total.

Lahiri was three-under for the front nine to move to seven-under and third place, slipped on the back nine with a bogey on tenth and a double on 13th saw him finish with a 70.

The 36-year-old Chawrasia got off to a flying start when he opened with two birdies. He gained another shot on 13 and was on track to be bogey-free for the third straight day before hitting a poor eight-iron tee shot on the penultimate hole.

“I played my own game and didn’t think that I’m playing in a match play with Siddikur. That’s my target. If anyone is coming closer, let them. I just want to focus on my own game. I’m trying to be calm but I’m feeling very frustrated inside!” said Chawrasia.

He enjoyed a stroke of luck to stay in the lead when his tee shot on the eighth hole, which was headed into the jungle, bounced off a tree branch onto the fairway. He also saved a crucial par on 16 from thick rough.

“My tee shot on 16 landed in the trees but it wasn’t as bad as it looked. I hit a low shot and I was able to save par. I want to think and play positive on the final day. The final round is always special so I will play aggressively,” said Chawrasia, who won his third Asian Tour title on this course in November.

Siddikur, the first Bangladeshi to play and win on the Asian Tour, double bogeyed the 15th hole from the trees but holed a close range birdie on 18 to stay in the hunt to win back-to-back Hero Indian Open titles.

“The birdie at the last was very important. Anything can happen in this game – I am looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully I can play the way I did on Thursday,” said the 30-year-old.

“I tried not to look too much at what SSP was doing today – I tried to focus on my own game and kept hitting the greens in regulation and try to make some birdie putts,” Siddikur explained.

Chopra, who was born to a Swedish mother and Indian father, pulled himself back into the tournament after taking a more aggressive approach.

“I played a lot more aggressively because I realised that if you play too safe at the DGC it tends to dominate you. I thought that with a bit of luck I might get away. So I am happy with the way the day turned out. Another round like today, you never know,” said the Swede, who won the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January.

Chawrasia has won two titles at the Delhi Golf Club, while Siddikur has played here on 11 occasions, winning once at the 2013 Hero Indian Open and racking up another nine top ten finishes.

Given the strength of those records, and the fact both men are playing such high quality golf it is difficult to foresee anything but a thrilling battle between the two during Sunday’s final round.