Chopra captures first US win in delayed Ginn ClassicChopra lands first Tour win
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PORT ST. LUCIE, United States (AFP) — Sweden's Daniel Chopra collected his first USPGA Tour victory on Monday, outlasting compatriot Fredrik Jacobson and Japan's Shigeki Maruyama to the Ginn Classic by one stroke.
Chopra, 33, completed a two-under par 71 in the delayed final round to finish with an overall score of 19-under 273 in the 4.5 million-dollar tournament.
"Last night I fell asleep just like a baby," Chopra told reporters after becoming the fifth Swede to triumph on the PGA Tour, emulating Gabriel Hjertstedt, Jesper Parnevik, Carl Pettersson and Henrik Stenson.
"I thought I'd have a hard time sleeping. Then from probably 12:30, I was wide awake and until 3:00 in the morning, I was tossing and turning.
"I was wound up pretty tight last night," Chopra said. "I came up this morning after a good night's sleep and I mentioned to my wife, 'Wow, it's amazing how much more relaxed I feel today.'
"I kind of let it all kind of sink in and put it into perspective. I thought, 'What is the absolute worst that can happen? I'll finish third, which is one (heck) of a great tournament.' I would have taken it in the beginning of the week."
Chopra led by as many as four strokes on Sunday, but fell into a three-way tie with Jacobson and Maruyama before darkness halted play.
He regained at his first hole on Monday morning with a birdie at the par-five 16th.
That put him one shot up on Jacobson and Maruyama, who started the day on 17. That was enough to give Chopra his first win in 133 US starts as all three parred the last two holes.
"It's amazing. It is something that I've dreamed about for a long time," Chopra said. "I mentioned earlier when I was playing in Europe, I would sit on the couch every evening when I was home, and I'd watch the telecast.
"I'd watch the leaderboards with the red numbers, and the players, wishing that maybe one day I'd have my name on one of those leaderboards."
"It is something I've dreamed about for a long time," said the globe-trotting Chopra, who moved to India aged seven to be raised by his grandparents.
"It's not meant to be easy. I just didn't realise it was going to be that tough," he added with a smile.
"I guess once you win five or six, then it becomes easier. But the first ones are hard and it's meant to be that way because that's the way you get to enjoy it more and treasure it."
Born to a Swedish mother and Indian father, Chopra celebrates both sides of his ancestry.
"I'm equally proud of both," he said. "I consider myself half and half. I feel maybe more Swedish when I'm in Sweden and more Indian when I'm in India.
"I love both cultures and I grew up in India, so maybe my thinking might be a little bit more Indian. But I'm very proud of the fact that I have two great nationalities that follow me and are behind me and support me."