New Delhi: Defending champion Anirban Lahiri and Manav Jaini, the duo who fought it out for the title in a play-off at the Panasonic Open India last year, will renew their battle at the 2012 edition when it tees up next week at the Delhi Golf Club here.
The duo, who played together at a recent golf team event in Bangalore, will now turn rivals and will be gunning for the Asian tour title.
Indians will once again start as strong favourites when the fourth Asian tour event of the year takes place. Indians have been known to dominate events at home, as Lahiri has won two events in 11 months, besides players like SSP Chowrasia winning an co-sanctioned event.
The Panasonic Open India meanwhile received a significant boost with the support of the Ministry of Tourism India for the first time. Adding muscle to the tournament and Indian golf will be live television coverage over four rounds on the Asian Tour`s global platform.
Lahiri will defend his title against a strong line-up of Asian Tour players including Thai legend Thaworn Wiratchant, and Prom Meesawat, Peter Karmis of South Africa and newly crowned Cambodian Classic winner, David Lipsky of the United States.
The strong-line also includes Thailand`s Chawalit Plaphol, a three-time Asian Tour winner, Siddikur of Bangladesh and Ben Fox of the United States will also feature in the event.
Lahiri is also buoyed by his recent qualification for The Open Championship through International Final Qualifying - Asia in Thailand. It will be his Major debut.
Lahiri apart, Indian challenge will also include Gaganjeet Bhullar, Jyoti Randhawa, Himmat Rai, Chiragh Kumar, Manav Jaini and Sri Lankan Mithun Perera. Manish Sharma, Managing Director, Consumer Product Division, Panasonic India said, "In recent years, Panasonic has observed a growing need and enthusiasm for Golf in the country and thus, foresees lucrative opportunity through such associations which provide a platform to connect better with the masses.
"We also have the rising player Anirban Lahiri as Panasonic’s sporting brand ambassador which is in sync with our growing business in India and our aim to be the industry leader in next few years."
Asian Tour Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han said the live coverage is testament to the global appeal of the Asian Tour.
The challenging Delhi Golf Club will stage the Panasonic Open India for the second year.
Panasonic Open India is supporting the The Golf Foundation to raise funds for the underprivileged through birdie counts. The Golf Foundation is a Registered Charitable Society of like minded golfers who wanted to give back to the game by helping a pool of untapped talent.
The Foundation has created very successful golfers like Ashok Kumar, Rashid Khan and Chikkarangappa to name a few. Shubham Jaglan is presently on the Foundation. He is a seven-year-old prodigy who has won almost all events in his category.