Greater Noida, 14 Mar 2013

Abhijit Singh Chadha emerges from amateur ranks, lies tied second

Rashid Khan occupies joint seventh

Wearing his favourite Augusta Masters T-shirt, Abhijit Chadha underlined his potential with a flawless six-under 66 a day after being honoured as the ‘Emerging Player of the Indian PGTI Tour for 2012’. The big-hitting 21-year-old Chadha is tied second place behind the rampaging Thai Chinnarat Phadungsil, who shot a sensational 11-under 61 on the first day of the Avantha Masters.

Chadha was tied second in the company of former Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, Liang Wenchong, two other Thais, Chapchai Nirat, who holds the world of 32-under recorded in 2009 SAIL open, and Chawalit Plaphol, winner of the opening event on 2013 Asian Tour, and Swede Magnus Carlsson.

Among the other prominent Indians, Chadha’s 2010 Asian Games teammate, Rashid Khan shot 67 to be tied seventh, while former champion SSP Chowrasia, Anirban Lahiri, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Ashok Kumar carded 68 each for a share of 15th place, while Rahil Gangjee and Jeev Milkha Singh brought in 69 apiece to be placed tied 30th. 

Chadha, son a Chandigarh-based businessman, is coached by Jesse Grewal, who also trains many other leading pros including Himmat Rai. 

Chadha said, “The putter was hot today. I holed almost everything. I made a 40-footer for birdie on the 16th and converted two 25-feet birdie putts on the sixth and ninth. I hit it given from the edge to set up a birdie on the 15th. I also had a fantastic par save on the par-3 17th with a good up and down.”

Speaking of the Augusta Masters shirt he wore, Chadha smiled and added, “That’s the one (Masters) I want to win. It is my big dream and it is my favourite shirt.”

For the present, he was happy with six birdies and the way he played. He added, “I hit it long so this course suits my game. My average driving distance is 300 yards and with my new driver I’ve been smoking it and hitting it even further. The conditions were quite tough in the morning with the swirling wind so I’m all the more pleased with my six-under.”

Chadha said, “I don’t feel the pressure of playing the Avantha Masters for the first time. The experience of playing many big international events during my amateur days has really helped me. As an amateur I played a lot of events overseas as part of the Indian team.”

But he did add, “It’s the first time I’m playing in an event sanctioned with the European Tour. I’ve got no experience at all. I’ve played a couple of events on the Asian Tour. Playing with the big players really gives you lots of confidence.”

Chadha played in a local event recently besides the two rounds he played during the trials for the selection of the 2010 Asian Games team. “We just had a tournament (LP Cup) last month. I played six rounds then and that obviously helps. Also I played the Asian Games trials here in 2010.”

Rashid Khan, who shot a bogey-free 67 in round one, sank a 25-footer for birdie on the 10th and hit a brilliant second shot on the 13th that landed within a few inches of the pin and resulted in a birdie.

Rashid said, “I hit the ball well and had 16 greens in regulation. However, I missed a lot of putts inside 10 feet. It’s great to start with a bogey-free round, especially in windy conditions. I’ve done well at this venue recently, having won the Louis Philippe Cup team competition last month. I’ll try to draw inspiration from that performance.”

About PGTI:

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