Daly to play in Avantha Masters, Chowrasia to defend title

Gurgaon: Two-time Major winner and one of the most entertaining players of his time, John Daly will make his maiden visit to India for the Avantha Masters golf tournament, starting next week.

Daly, winner of the 1991 US PGA Championships and then the 1995 British Open, has played in the Middle East swing of the European Tour, from where he will come to India.

Apart from Daly, the Avantha Masters field will include Todd Hamilton, the 2004 British Open champion.

Meanwhile, defending champion SSP Chowrasia and the winner of the inaugural edition of Avantha Masters, Andrew Dodt of Australia, will also feature prominently in the 132-strong field.

The highly anticipated event, which is tri-sanctioned by the European Tour, the Asian Tour and the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), will tee off at the DLF Golf and Country Club here from February 16. The Pro-Am is on February 15.

Padamjit Sandhu, Director, PGTI, said, "In just three years the Avantha Masters has positioned Indian golf at the international level. The tournament has generated tremendous positive interest for the sport in India, and has attracted big names including Major champions like John Daly and Todd Hamilton.

"Indian flag bearers Jeev Milkha Singh, Shiv Kapur, Rahil Gangjee, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Anirban Lahiri and Himmat Singh Rai will ensure a strong Indian presence at the event."

The entry list includes an impressive array of golfers from Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. Though the final field will be known only on Sunday, it includes 57 European Tour players, 47 Asian Tour players and 22 PGTI players and six sponsor invites.

Jeev Milkha Singh, winner of two Asian Tour Order of Merit titles, will spearhead the Indian challenge, and Thongchai Jaideem who has won the Asian Tour Order of Merit a record three times, will also be a strong contender.

The tournament carries a prize purse of approximately USD 2.4 million and is the richest event in India, which hosts four Asian Tour events in 2012.

The winner of the Avantha Masters, besides taking home the prestigious title and a lucrative cheque will earn himself a two-year exemption on Asian and European Tours.


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