Chowrasia keen to be inspiration

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The European Tour has moved on from Dubai to India this week and, even though he would like to have been heading to America instead, Dutchman Joost Luiten has made the trip too.

Two weeks ago the 26-year-old was 64th in the world and in position to qualify for a world championship debut at next week’s Accenture Match Play in Arizona.

But finishes of 42nd in Abu Dhabi and then 33rd at last week’s Desert Classic have dropped Luiten, winner of the Johor Open in Malaysia last November, to 69th and put him only fourth reserve for Dove Mountain.

He is part of a line-up at the Avantha Masters in New Delhi that includes former Open champions John Daly and Todd Hamilton, Ryder Cup hero Paul McGinley and German Marcel Siem, who shared the lead with Lee Westwood for a while in Dubai on Sunday before dropping back to fourth.

The defending champion is local hero SSP Chowrasia, who also won the title in 2008.

“I’ve been practising hard and I’m feeling really good,” he said. “I’ve done a bit of work on my swing over the off-season and it’s paying off.

“I’m feeling very confident about my game.

“Last year was great for Indian golf and Indian players. Golf in India is growing – cricket is number one, but golf is the next fastest growing sport and I hope my victory inspires more people to play.”

Hull’s Richard Finch, who finished second last year, and Morley’s Danny Denison are both in action.