Om Prakash Chouhan brought all his experience to the fore, prevailing in a close finish to secure his 11th career title and fourth of the season at the SSP Chawrasia Invitational 2023 presented by TAKE Sports played at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC).
Chouhan (70-69-70-73), the overnight leader by four shots, was not at his best on Sunday as he shot a one-over 73 but closed out the match in style with a last-hole birdie to triumph by one shot at a total of six-under 282.
American rookie Varun Chopra (73-72-69-69) took the runner-up spot at five-under 283 after shooting the day’s joint-lowest score of 69. Angad Cheema’s (70) consistent season continued as he finished third at four-under 284. Udayan Mane and Rashid Khan claimed tied fourth place at two-under 286.
The 37-year-old ‘OP’, as Chouhan is popularly known, walked away with the winning cheque worth Rs 15 lakh that saw him become the first player to cross the Rs 1 crore barrier in the season’s earnings on the PGTI.
Chouhan, who hails from Mhow in Madhya Pradesh but is now attached with the Kalhaar Blues and Greens golf course in Ahmedabad, also extended his lead in the Tata Steel PGTI Ranking as his season’s earnings moved to Rs 1,13,80,559 giving him a lead of more than Rs 39 lakh over second-placed Karan Pratap Singh.
Chouhan began his day with a birdie on the first hole but then lost his way with four bogeys over the next 13 holes as he struggled with his putting, missing a few putts from short range and thereby conceding a one-shot lead to the 24-year-old Chopra.
“I normally play attacking golf but today (Sunday) I played a little conservatively to begin with.
“I wasn’t happy about that approach and about taking the match to the last hole despite having a comfortable overnight lead. But I’m delighted that I came through in the high-pressure situation at the end when it mattered the most.”