New Delhi, India: Current Asian Tour number one S.S.P. Chowrasia, rising star Gaganjeet Bhullar and India's history-maker Jyoti Randhawa will headline the inaugural Panasonic Open (India) at the Delhi Golf Club next week.
The trio have confirmed their participation in Asia’s newest US$300,000 event that will be co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) from April 6 to 9 (Wednesday to Saturday).
The local heroes will be determined to reward the galleries with another home victory following Chowrasia’s popular win at the Avantha Masters last month.
Chowrasia’s winning performance not only ended a three-year title drought but his sublime performance also showcased Indian golf at its best and put him in top spot of the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.
Randhawa, who created history when he became the first Indian to win the prestigious Asian Tour Order of Merit title in 2002, will also be eager to get back to his winning ways next week.
The powerful Indian finished in seventh place at the SAIL Open last week and hopes to better his result at the Delhi Golf Club, which he has triumphed on numerous occasions on the Asian Tour.
He believes his good home record will provide him with an advantage over the elite field.
“It is great. Two tournaments on the same golf course in the span of two weeks is good for the Indian golfers because we tend to play better here. I’m looking forward to it,” said the 38-year-old.
“My finish was decent and I finished in the top-10, It will give me more confidence for the Panasonic Open (India),” added Randhawa.
Bhullar, who has two Asian Tour victories, hopes to add a third win on home soil after a enjoying solid start to the season where he has won three titles in India and one in Bangladesh since the beginning of the year
“I’m enjoying a good run of form and if I continue to play this way, I believe I’ll stand a good chance of winning another title. But right now, I’m just happy to be given the opportunity play at the Panasonic Open (India) and promote golf in India,” said Bhullar.
Like his growing popularity, the growth of golf in India is also on the rise and it is a fact which the 22-year-old is quick to acknowledge.
“It’s a great sign for Indian golf. Previously we had a lot of events in Thailand but I think India has taken over now, if not on par with them. We have many multinational companies in India sponsoring golf events and it is good for Indian professionals and I’ll be lucky if I win any of the events,” said Bhullar.
Among the other Indian professionals in the field is 20-year-old Rashid Khan who only turned professional last October. The young talent was a prodigious amateur and winner of the silver medal in the team competition at the Asian Games in Guangzhou last year. He enjoyed a tied-12th finish at the SAIL Open last week and will be ready to show that he can match up against the best again.
For the second time in three weeks, the region’s top players will be back in the sub continent after a week’s break to continue their quest for glory at the Panasonic Open (India).
Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, a 12-time winner in Asia, will be aiming to make his way back to the winner’s rostrum and match compatriot’s Thongchai Jaidee’s record of 13 victories.
Thaworn won at the Delhi Golf Club in 2005, the season he finished number one on the Order of Merit, and the Thai veteran will no doubt be one of the leading contenders next week.
Australia’s Marcus Both, a two-time winner in Asia, will also be making another anticipated return to the challenging Delhi Golf Club. Danny Chia, the first Malaysian to play in all four rounds of the British Open last season, Singapore’s Mardan Mamat and Bangladesh’s Siddikur, who narrowly missed out on his second Asian Tour win last week, will also feature at the Panasonic Open (India).
Panasonic, the worldwide leader of electronic product manufacturers, has committed to the title sponsorship in India as an extension of the brand’s involvement with professional golf in Asia as it also hosts the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open in Japan, a tournament jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.
The top three players of the Panasonic Open (India) will also be invited to play in Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open, scheduled from September 22 to 25 at Biwako Country Club in Shiga Prefecture.
Asian Tour GolfGreedy.com