Daniel Chopra rolled back the years and qualified for his first Major Championships since 2012 with a brilliant 36-hole display to qualify for the US Open next week at Erin Hills.
Playing in the Sectional Qualifiers at Summit in new Jersey, which had 80 players Chopra topped the field at the Canoe Brook Country Club with round of 66 (on the par 70 South Course) and a 65 (on the Par-72) North Course for a 36-hole total of 11-under 131 at the Qualifiers to earn a berth into the year’s second Major.
Though none of the regular Indians have qualified for the US Open this year, Chopra, whose father is Indian and mother Swedish, and who learnt his golf in India, is one of the two players with an Indian connection to make it.
A week earlier, English player Aaron Rai, whose parents are of Indian origin, made it through another Sectional Qualifier in UK.
Chopra, who won twice on PGA Tour in late 2007 and again in the Mercedes Benz Championships in early 2008, has been struggling for some years. His last win was on Web.com Tour at Fresh Classic in 2011.
But this year he has shown welcome sign of return to form with one Top-10 on Asian Tour and two others on Web.com Tour, through which he hopes to regain his PGA Tour card for 2018.
Now wearing black, instead of his spiked blonde hair, Chopra said, “I’ve been struggling in the last couple of years with some injuries and I’m starting to feel better now,” Chopra said.
“This (qualifier) was a nice little validation. I’m on the way, now.”
Chopra, who was once ranked as high no. 60 in the world in January 2008, soon after his second PGA Tour win, was as low as 1662 at the end of 2016, and is now ranked 794th.
He was tied ninth in Myanmar on Asian Tour; tied eight in Colombia Championships and tied ninth in Louisiana Open, both on Web.Com Tour.
“My goal was to get it to 10-under. After I birdied the 10th hole, I told myself to get one more, an insurance birdie in case something happens. I made that one and then one more, so it was a bit cruisy coming in. It was nice playing the last few holes pretty safe,” he said.
On his recent form, he added, “Even though I made the cut and did not play that well last week, I still felt really confident.”