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Perfect conditions for Chowrasia

By Colin Moffat, BBC Sport

Golfer Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia
Chowrasia finished one over after day one at Loch Lomond
Being from Kolkota, Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia is used to the odd downpour.

And while it was not quite Monsoon level, the torrential rain at Loch Lomond did delay the start of the Scottish Open by one-and-a-half hours.

Chowrasia, playing his first season on the European Tour, was among the early starters and carded a one-over par total.

By the time he holed out at the 9th for his 72nd shot of the opening day, conditions had improved considerably.

There was not a breath of wind, with soft, receptive greens and preferred lies on the damp fairways.

"It's perfect for good scores," the diminutive Indian told BBC Sport.

"Overall my game was good apart from a bad drive at the 7th but I couldn't make enough putts.

"Once we got started, the rain stopped and there was no problem, although the course plays a little longer."

Chowrasia made European Tour history in February when he claimed a maiden victory as an affiliate member at the inaugural Indian Masters.

The triumph on home soil earned him a two-year exemption on the circuit and was the perfect start to life on the Tour.

"It's great," the 30-year-old enthused.

"Every week I see a new golf course and it's great experience for me to play with all the top players.

My ultimate goal is the US Tour

Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia

"My manager takes care of all the hotels and travel plans and, with all the Indian players around, there is no time to be homesick."

SSP, as he is known by fellow pros, is one of three Indians competing at Loch Lomond. Jeev Milkha Singh and Shiv Kapur are the others.

Jyoti Randhawa and Arjun Atwal are not present but join their compatriots in the current top 88 players in the Order of Merit - that's three more than Scotland can manage.

Singh and Atwal each have three European wins, with a tournament success apiece so far this season, while Chowrasia became just the third Indian to win a Tour event.

"We are all friends and we usually meet up for dinner every night, so it's good fun," he added.

Singh and Atwal have both benefited from scholarships in the United States and that's where Chowrasia aims to play one day.

"My ultimate goal is the US Tour," explained the man who turned professional in 1997 and joined the Asian Tour two years ago.

Golfer Jyoti Randhawa
Randhawa has been on the PGA Tour since 1992

But Chowrasia's golf education was all at home, where his father was a greenkeeper at the famous Calcutta Golf Club.

He would sneak on to the exclusive resort to practice and later plied his trade as a caddie.

"My father would chase me off when I was young but other times he would pretend not to see me," he laughed.

In ten events since his incredible Tour debut, his best finish is a tie for 46th at the Malaysian Open.

And despite being disappointed by a 72 on a day of low scoring, the affable Chowrasia can afford to be sanguine about his future prospects.

With so many good players already, it's far too late to say the Indians are coming.

Chowrasia and co are established figures on tour and little SSP can justifiably dream of California under the heavy Caledonian skies.


see also
European Tour leaderboard
09 Apr 08 |  Live scores


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