Wednesday preview: What they said #HIO2018

Wed 07 Mar 2018

Wednesday preview: What they said #HIO2018


S.S.P. Chawrasia (Ind)

I’ve already won twice and I’m trying my best to win for the third consecutive time. I’m comfortable with the conditions in my country, which may explain why I’ve been playing well in the tournaments here.

All the players on Tour were saying, if the tournament is held in Indian, I’ll probably win it. They asked me what my secret is, but I told them that it is no secret; I simply play good golf!

I’ve last lost four times narrowly at the Indian Open, perhaps, that I have won twice just to balance things out. I won last year, so obviously that strategy worked. So, I’ll bring the same strategy to this year’s tournament.

I played well in the Indian Open for the last few years, which is why I can be in the top 10 of the Asian Tour Order of Merit! But on a more serious note, I’ve made recent some changes to my game plans to help me stay even more consistent. So, let’s see how it goes.

Shubhankar Sharma (Ind)

I’m really happy with what has happened to me so far. Obviously, the Asian Tour played a big role, as the Tour has given me the opportunity to compete and helped me develop my game to my current level. 

I think in golf, anything is possible, you have to play well for four days, you can definitely compete with the best. I know that if I play my best, I’m good for a top five, or even a win at the Masters Tournament. I’m really looking forward to it.

I was quite tough on myself throughout the flight back to India, as I didn’t finish the tournament the way I want it, but as soon as I got the call, all the pain got washed away. I’m really happy to be able to play in the Masters Tournament. It’s every golfer’s dream to play in the Masters, and I’m no exception.

Although, I have to say that The Open is my favourite Major, although you cannot compare Major tournaments. The Masters Tournament just have a particular feel to it, though. There is no player in particular that I want to be paired with. I’m just happy to be able to be part of the tournament. I don’t think I’ll be awestruck by any player. I’m looking forward to playing at the Amen Corner. Every hole has their own challenges.

For a start, I wasn’t even sure if I was even going to play in the Joburg Open. Even after my win, I was just trying to play as much as I can. I wanted to show everyone that my win in South Africa wasn’t a fluke, then I managed to win the Maybank Championship, which is obviously good. It has been a big learning experience for me, as I was playing at new courses beyond Asia.

I started with PGTI (Professional Golf Tour of India) and I was with the Asian Tour for the past three years. The progression has been great. It is tough to move out of India and compete internationally, as the conditions are different and you are away from your loved ones. It took me a few years. It was only in 2016 when I got my full Asian Tour card. I played pretty well last year and I’m very happy to cap off the year with a win. I’m very thankful to have the chance to play on the Asian Tour.

I’m glad that I’m quite young. I’m not tired of playing golf. In fact, I’m quite tired of all the off-field commitments, but that’s part of being a professional golfer. Overall, it’s not a bad problem to have.

The Indian Open is very close to my heart. I witness every Indian Open before I turned professional. It has always been a dream for me if I can win it. I’m really looking forward to it. The field is great and the course is well maintained. Winning the All-Indian Amateur is fantastic, it nothing beats winning the Indian Open. 

I don’t think I’m the top contender, as I haven’t won the tournament before. After last week, I got a lot of attention. Playing here actually has less pressure on him compared to last week, because I’m playing here at home.

The toughest competition here at the Hero Indian Open is the golf course. It’s about managing yourself out there. Not a lot of players will finish under par this week. The course is player tougher compared to last year and it’s going to be a test of patience. A lot of great players are playing this week. So, may the best golfer win!

Anirban Lahiri (Ind)

The Indian Open is always a very special event, for me personally and the other Indian players here. Outside of the prestige of the event, it’s also a good opportunity for the young unheralded Indians to make a splash and secure their cards in Asia. For the two of us, we always look forward to it, we’ve done well here. I think all eyes are going to be on SSP as well as he’s played the last couple of years. So yeah. I’m looking forward to it. Like you mentioned, I think this is the best Indian field we’ve ever had. Also, the most in-form Indian field that we’ve ever had. Obviously, with Shubhankar playing the way he is, Khalin (Joshi) recently had a top 10 in Malaysia. It is really great to see, so I’m hoping that the Indians have a great week.

This tournament brings back great memories. In 2009, the second year of the Asian Tour, I shot 64 on Sunday to finish third, which secured my card for the following year. The rest, as they say, is history.

The course is in great condition. It is better compared to last year, in general. The changes in the back nine may pose a challenge, especially if the wind picks up. The challenge out there will probably be the greens. If you land your ball in the wrong position, you will probably suffer. But it’s going to be the same for everyone. So, I’ll just aim to put the ball in play and land in the right positions on the greens.

The Asian Tour is home to me. Whenever I come back to Asia and play in tournaments like the Hero Indian Open, I see so many familiar faces. It’s definitely the fun Tour to play in the world, and I’ve played all over the world. I spent seven years here, worked my way up from the bottom, had to play in the Asian Qualifying School twice. In 2010, I had to play well in Cambodia to keep my playing card. I’ve really enjoyed here and I’ve learned a lot from the Asian Tour. The exposure has helped me be more appreciative when I have gone out west. The attitude I’ve developed while playing on the Asian Tour has also certainly helped me on the world stage.

At a demanding golf course like this, a lot of your decision making will be based on two factors. One is the wind, the other is the pin position. You take a hole like number nine. If you put the pin in front, close to the water, there’s no advantage by being aggressive off the tee. But if you put the pin all the way back, even if you miss-hit with your driver, you still have a great chance. Being aggressive without any thought will only land you in trouble. I will pick my battles very carefully. This golf course, as we’ve seen with S.S.P., rewards percentage play, so you have to think hard ad you have to be very precise with your strategy. If you are downwind, you don’t want to be on the wrong side of the green. If you’re into the wind you want to be closer. Those two factors, for me, will determine how I go about playing a hole. I might play it defensively one day and aggressively one day.

Gavin Green (Mas)

Obviously, I’ve got great memories of this tournament, having finished in second place last year. Although, it’ll be a brand new 72 holes this year. I think I’ll just approach this year’s tournament as how I did last year, since it worked for me. Although, if the wind picks up, it’ll be really tricky.

Being able to hit it long helps me on this course for sure. Instead of hitting drivers, I can opt to hit five wood or two iron, which are typically more accurate. I’m figuring out the lines and see where we can be aggressive and where we can play it safe.

It means a lot being the reigning Asian Tour number one for sure, but I still have to step up and play well at every tournament. My game is alright. Although I struggled a bit over the last couple of weeks, but that’s part of the game.

Thongchai Jaidee (Tha)

I remember winning the Indian Open in 2001. Things have changed significantly. The field is different and the course has become more challenging. I will try my best this year. I can’t say no to playing golf, especially in a tournament of this nature.

I really enjoy my game at the moment. To keep motivated, I practice efficiently and stay fit physically. Most importantly, I love the game.

I would like to see even more young players in this game. In Thailand, the industry knows about golf, how to improve the standard of play and develop players for the future. It is happening in India and Korea as well. I’m glad to see such developments and hopefully, more Asian players will compete on the world stage.

I heard about the golf course here at DLF Golf and Country Club. It looks great. I don’t mind the challenge at all as It’s the same for everyone.

Jazz Janewattananond (Tha)

The golf course is challenging and different for sure. It’s probably most similar to the one at Samui, but this Gary Player layout is Samui on steroids! Thing is, I like Samui, so I’m looking forward to competing at the Hero Indian Open. All your shots have to be on point.

The course engages you thoroughly, but given the extended break after the Hero Indian Open, we can put all our focus and energy into this tournament.

I had a week off last week and I feel pretty good about my game. My swing is alright. Here, you have to stay patient. Anything can happen. If your game is good, you can still play badly and conversely, if your game is bad, you can still come back with a good score. I just want to beat my score last year. I made silly mistakes and I want to minimise that. I’ve learned not to be too greedy.