Major winners to star in Gujarat Kensville Challenge

New Delhi: Former Major winner Rich Beem and Ryder Cup star Oliver Wilson will be among the elite golfers who will descend on the Kensville Golf and Country Club for the third edition of the Gujarat Kensville Challenge to be held from January 31 to February 3.

Beem and Wilson will join the other Indian stars, including inaugural edition winner Gaganjeet Bhullar and 2012 runner-up Rahil Gangjee.

The prestigious tournament will also witness the gracious presence of star cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who is also one of the brand ambassadors of the Kensville Golf and Country Club. He will visit the event on the Pro-am day on January 30.

Carrying a purse of Euros 200,000, the event will have an increased field of 120 players, including 63 members from the European Challenge Tour and 57 from the PGTI.

Beem, who had scored a historic win at the last Major of 2002 when he rallied from behind to beat Tiger Woods by one shot to win the PGA Championship, is a big name in golf. He also has two other PGA Tour victories to his credit.

Wilson, considered one of the stars for the future when he started out, has been second on no less than nine occasions on the European Tour including the HSBC Champions and Alfred Dunhill Links Championships.

He also played in the 2008 Ryder Cup when he teamed up with Henrik Stenson to beat Anthony Kim and Phil Mickelson.

Jeev Milkha Singh, who designed the course along with the late Col. Bagga, said: "I am proud to be associated with this event, which has grown in strength and stature over the past three years. It has opened a new window for young golfers.

"Gaganjeet, who won this event in 2011, has since matured into a fine golfer and we are sure to find similar champions this year and in the future."

Talking about the course, Jeev said: "The course has become better. Some bunkers and trees needed to be removed and it is in great shape. The course has matured and I am hoping a seven-under should be a winning score here."

Jeev, himself, however won`t be able to compete in the event as he is playing in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates GC, Dubai on the same dates.

"The dates were clashing and as Dubai is important for my ranking, I had to play there and I am grateful to the sponsors that they understood. I hope to play next year if the dates doesn`t clash," he said.

The field for the 2013 edition will include top Indian golfers like Himmat Rai, Chiragh Kumar, Shamim Khan and Rashid Khan.

Sameer Sinha, Managing Director of Kensville Golf & Country Club, said: "Kensville is delighted to welcome the GKC once again this year. It has brought a golf event of international standing to Gujarat and has served the purpose of popularising golf in India very well.

"We have two championship courses in Gujarat and nine other golf courses coming up. I am sure in the times to come, we will be the golf capital of the country. We want to produce a national champion from the state."

The event will also tee off the Indian tour and Padamjit Sandhu, Director, PGTI, said it is a great way of starting the season.

"The Gujarat Kensville Challenge which has been on our schedule for three years now, will once again herald the start of our strong season for 2013. Almost all our top stars are expected to tee off at Kensville Golf and Country Club and they will compete with some very talented European players as also some other well known and established stars."

The Gujarat Kensville Challenge 2013, which will set the tone for the new European Challenge Tour season, is India`s only Challenge Tour event. It is jointly sanctioned by PGTI.


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