Stage set for Indian Open golf
By S S Shreekumar | ENS | Published: 18th October 2012 10:27 AM |
Top-notch golfers, enjoying the cool climes of the Garden City, are all set to tee-off for the $1,250,000 Hero Indian Open 2012, as it commences in new environs, the Karnataka Golf Association course, from Thursday. The championship, first held in 1964, has not moved out of either Delhi or Kolkata. But with the Bangalore and the KGA witnessing non-stop golfing activity and the course being one of the best in the country, the Indian Golf Union decided to have the prestigious event in India here. Now part of the professional Asian Tour, the event has attracted 156 golfers, under various categories.
Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant, who is fourth on the Order of Merit and who won the 2005 Indian Open, is one of the favourites. More so, as the Thai star pursues a record 15th career title. Thaworn and Gaganjeet Bhullar head the list as the only two players who have multiple tournament victories.
Ryder Cup star Peter Hanson of Sweden, Scotland’s Richie Ramsay and England’s James Morrison are the three Asian Tour invitees with 13 others being called in by the sponsors. There are 11 single tournament winners, including the 2011 Indian Open winner David Gleeson of Australia. Indians Digvijay Singh, Anirban Lahiri, Himmat Rai and SSP Chowrasia are in the fray from this category.
India’s Feroz Ali is the lone former champion in the line-up with C Muniyappa, the 2009 winner being on the invitee list. Jonathan Moore of USA and Thitiphun Chuayprakong of Thailand and Shiv Kapur of India, who were among the top five in Macau, the top 61 of the Asian Tour OOM (Order of Merit), which includes India’s Jyoti Randhawa, three-time winner of the Indian Open, top 20 career money earners, board exemptions (Gaurav Ghei), re-ranked after the Queen’s Cup, are in the line-up.
PGTI has 36 spots of which 33 are Indians, headed by Mukesh Kumar, with Mithun Perera (Sri Lanka), Anthony Paul Choat (Australia) and Toran Bikram Shahi (Nepal), being the other three. Consequently, a field that has champions galore with no less than 40 Tour winners will feature in the extravaganza. “Whenever you go back to a tournament which you’ve won before, there’s always a good vibe. The golf course is good and going to a new city is always fun,” said Gleeson.
“Bangalore is my hometown and it’ll be nice if I do really well here. I’ve got to keep pushing myself and move in the right direction from where I am today. Hopefully, I can do that,” was how Anirban Lahiri put it.
Chinnaswamy Muniyappa, the 2009 Indian Open winner, will have a lot of vocal chords straining for him. Muniyappa worked as a caddie at the KGA and after coming back form injury, would like to win it at home.