New Delhi: India's S.S.P. Chowrasia will bank on local knowledge as he aims for his maiden Hero Indian Open golf title and also the Asian Tour Order of Merit crown next week.
Chowrasia was atop the Order Merit for a long time following his triumph at the season-opening Avantha Masters on home soil in February but recently slipped to second place behind Japan's Tetsuji Hirasuka after an uncharacteristic run of missed cuts.
Returning to Delhi Golf Club for the $1.25 million event, which is the richest full field Asian Tour tournament, Chowrasia will seek to turn things around.
Chowrasia, who has missed 10 consecutive cuts in Asia and Europe, is known for his short game prowess but admits struggling with his putting following his second career victory in February.
"I'm playing well but my putting has been bad. There is always something missing from my golf game. It is either my chipping or putting that has let me down. I've really been struggling in the last few months," said the Indian, who has finished runner-up twice in the Indian Open.
Chowrasia rose stardom when he won his maiden Asian Tour victory in 2008 at the Indian Masters and hopes to follow in the footsteps of his countrymen Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa by becoming Asia's number one.
"I'm aiming to win the Order of Merit. That's my dream and goal for the year," said Chowrasia, who is the son of a greenskeeper at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club.
The lucrative Hero Indian Open is the fourth Asian Tour event to be played in the sub-continent this season.
A hosts of stars will feature in the event including defending champion Rikard Karlberg of Sweden, Thai veteran Thaworn Wiratchant, a 12-time winner in Asia, Angelo Que of the Philippines, and this year's newest Asian Tour champions Berry Henson of the United States and Joonas Granberg of Finland.
India's young guns Anirban Lahiri and Himmat Rai, who both won their maiden Asian Tour titles this year, and the experienced Jyoti Randhawa and Shiv Kapur will spearhead the local challenge.
Gaganjeet Bhullar of India will also be in the elite field and will look to end the season on a high.
He won three consecutive titles in India and Bangladesh early on but has since struggled to maintain his momentum.
"There's a bit of pressure for me to go out there and win one title this year but that's golf and I'm sure everybody is feeling the same. We do work hard to win a tournament every year. The more you work and the luckier you get," said the two-time Asian Tour champion.