New Delhi: It was a typical case of so near and yet so far for Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) on Sunday.
All that the 35-year-old Calcutta pro needed was to hit a four-foot birdie on the 18th hole and force a play-off. As a couple of thousand people watched in sheer disbelief, Chowrasia missed and virtually handed over the golden jubilee Indian Open title to Bangladesh’s Mohammed Siddikur, his second in Asian Tour.
The Bangladesh golfer’s only other Asian Tour win came in 2010 in the Brunei Open. “This was perhaps the best week of my professional career. DGC is almost like my home turf. I had won a tournament here even as an amateur player in 2004,” said the 29-year-old pro, who received $225,000.
While Siddikur ended his three-year winless streak at the circuit despite a highly erratic performance on the final day with a 14-under total, Chowrasia and Anirban Lahiri stayed one stroke behind to finish joint second. Siddikur, who ended the Round Three with 17-under, had a three-over show in the final round.
On the other hand, Lahiri, who closed with a 70, also rued a missed birdie chance on the last hole to force extra time in front of a large number of people in the gallery.
“I made errors on my putt shots,” said Lahiri later. “I misjudged my approach shot. I definitely made lots of mistakes on the back nine. Throughout the tournament, I hit brilliant and careless putt shots. Still, I could have turned the tide…it didn’t happen,” he added.
However, for the spectators, there was something to cheer about as a sensational eagle from about 30 feet on the last hole earned local boy Rashid Khan a share of the fourth place with compatriot Chirag Kumar, Filipino Angelo Que and Baek Seuk-Hyun of Korea, who all ended two shots behind the champion in the closely fought tournament.
Siddikur started strongly with birdies on the second and fifth holes but four bogeys over a six-hole stretch around the turn opened the door for his rivals to close in.
He managed to steady the ship with birdies on 13th and 14th but a triple bogey on 15th and another on the 16th suddenly made the contest look a highly exciting one. But Siddikur recovered on the 17th with a top class 15-foot birdie and held on to the slender advantage till the end.
“The birdie on the 17th was definitely the turning point…I didn’t expect to play three-over on the final round. Given the way I played in the first three days, I wanted to play another three-under. It did not happen, though I was under no pressure,” said Siddikur.
Chowrasia, for whom it could have been the third Asian Tour victory, signed off with a 72, which included four birdies and as many bogeys. Lack of consistency, he admitted, was the reason for not being able to clinch the title.
“I was not consistent. I was not playing good and made lots of small mistakes. I had problems reading the lines. The last three days I putted well. I needed to make an important birdie putt on 18th hole but it didn’t happen….may be I will win next time,” said Chowrasia with a shrug.