Indian veteran pro 36-year-old OP Chouhan of Mhow, Madhya Pradesh took full advantage of the new US$ 300,000 European Challenge Tour event in Bangalore and shot 70-67-66-65 (20-under 268) to win the inaugural edition and take home the top prize of almost Rs 40 lacs.
This is why I love developmental tours. OP Chouhan grew up poor, but found a way to golf and turned pro when he was 15, as he really had no other option. Won his first event on Indian Pro Tour at 25. Has 7 wins on that tour. Now a life changing Challenge pic.twitter.com/1EClDSM77F…
— Monday Q Info (@acaseofthegolf1) March 26, 2023
Prior to the tournament, Sir Nick Faldo was present at the venue as global brand ambassador of the European Challenge Tour’s tournament title sponsor Black Bull, and played the pro-am with Dr Pawan Munjal (Chairman & CEO, Hero MotoCorp) and ex-Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh who later joined Sir Nick on his podcast.
53 Indians and around 100 foreign professional players were seen in action at the immaculately prepared KGA course in Bangalore, which hosted the tournament as part of its Golden Jubilee year celebrations. Aman Raj was the only other Indian to finish in the top 10 while 14 Indian players made the cut.
The other Indians making the cut were
M Dharma -21st;
Khalin Joshi, Udayan Mane & Karan Pratap Singh tied-34th
Abhinav Lohan, Mari Muthu & Aryan Roopa Anand tied-42nd
Kartik Sharma tied-51st, Samarth Dwivedi tied-55th
Gaurav Pratap Singh tied-65th, Sunhit Bishnoi 68th, Sudhir Sharma 69th
Chouhan entered the final round of the tournament two shots behind Italian Lorenzo Scalise, who was leading at 15-under par and then shot a bogey free 7-under 65 for a two-shot win over Ashley Chesters from England and Victor Pastor of Spain.
“I’m thrilled. It’s a huge achievement for me as I had never won an international title previously.”
A special moment for Chouhan #DTBBChallenge pic.twitter.com/jO6M3NF3HT
— Challenge Tour (@Challenge_Tour) March 26, 2023
Chouhan is the third Indian to win a Challenge Tour event, following Gaganjeet Bhullar (2011) & Shiv Kapur (2013) who won the Kensville Challenge in Ahmedabad.
This week we hope to see more consistency from the Indian contingent with another US$ 300,000 event at KGA again.
“I’m thrilled. It’s a huge achievement for me as I had never won an international title previously,” Chouhan said. “I definitely have plans to play on the Challenge Tour in Europe now. This win opens a lot of doors for me so I’m quite excited about the opportunities ahead.
“I just wanted to focus on my strengths and my game and not drop any shots. I had targeted a seven-under at the start of the round.
“I’ve worked a lot on the mental aspect of my game lately. That has brought a lot of improvement in my game. In the past, if I dropped shots or made mistakes early in the round, I would generally start playing more aggressively. But now, I don’t let the errors affect my game too much.
“I would like to thank Mr. Devang Shah for allowing me to play regularly at the Kalhaar Blues & Greens golf course in Ahmedabad. Playing at Kalhaar has made a huge difference to my game. I would also like to thank Mr. Ragesh Vasa and Mr. Badresh for all their support, encouragement and valuable advice.”
Glimpses from the podcast –
Memorable 48 hours spent with the legend, one and only @NickFaldo006 ⛳️ learnt a lot from his dedication for the game! Watch this space for more pic.twitter.com/JCIv9WBzBC
— Yuvraj Singh (@YUVSTRONG12) March 24, 2023
Photo – Getty Images