Chowrasia seals Avantha Masters in a dramatic finish

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Gurgaon, Feb 20 (PTI) Three years after he had thegolfing world sit up and take notice, SSP Chowrasia added asecond title in a dramatic manner at the Avantha masters,jointly sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours.

On the final day, Chowrasia finished more than 75 minutesbefore the last group trooped in, setting the clubhouse targetat 15-under 273 with a five-under 67.

Trying to keep his nerves calm and body warm as the windturned cooler, Chowrasia finally raised his arms as hisnearest rival, Robert Coles of England first missed shortputts and then bogeyed the final hole to give the 32-year-oldIndian the title and a cheque of Euros 300,000.

It also brought him an exemption right through till theend of 2013.

"It is a dream come true. I knew I was playing well but Idid not think about winning, though at the back of my mind Iknew I had done it before," said Chowrasia, who is sponsoredby one of the Avantha Group of companies.

"I thought I had thing pretty much under control afterthe front nine and then at 17-under after 15 it seemed fine.

I made the mistake of the tee on 16th and ended with a double.

Still when Coles missed the birdie putt on 15th and again17th, I thought I would go into a play-off.

"I went to the range and hit a few balls. The roar fromthe 18th green made me realise something had happened and thenpeople ran towards the range to congratulate me. It seemed areplay of 2008," he added.

Just when a play-off seemed imminent and Chowrasiastarted hitting balls at the range to keep himself warm, Colesbogeyed his closing hole, taking four shots from the edge ofthe green to hole out.

The Indian closed with a five-under 67 for a winningtotal of 15-under 273 while Coles took second place afterrounds of 70, 67, 67 and 70 at the DLF Golf and Country Club.

Gautam Thapar, Chairman and CEO of Avantha Group gaveaway the trophy and the cheque to Chowrasia.

Coles was philosophical about his loss.

"I think the main lesson to take from this is that youhave to adapt to those situations under that kind of pressurewith those adrenaline flowing," said Coles.

France''s Gregory Havret was third place on 275.

Netherland''s Robert-Jan Derksen, who had taken the firstround lead, signed off in fourth place on 276 while India''sSujjan Singh got his rookie year on the Asian Tour off to thebest of starts with a tied-fifth place alongside Spain''s PabloLarrazabal on 277.

Shiv Kapur, despite a double bogey on 17th finished withnine-under 279, while Jeev Milkha Singh (75) was totallyoff-colour.

On the front nine the Chandigarh golfer kept missing thebirdies and then dropped a bogey on ninth.

On the back ninth, Jeev got his only birdie of the day attenth, but then dropped shots on 13th, 14th and 17th to end at75 and at nine-under he was tied 11th. .

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