Shiv Kapur eyes Avantha Masters crown
New Delhi: India`s Shiv Kapur has targeted an Indian double at the Avantha Masters after capturing his debut European Tour Challenge Tour title at the Gujarat Kensville Challenge.
A fortnight ago Kapur became the second home player, after the 2011 champion Gaganjeet Bhullar, to win the Kensville Challenge when he held off Scotland`s Andrew McArthur by two strokes to take the €32,000 winner`s cheque and, in the process, move to the top of the Challenge Tour Rankings.
Having sealed his maiden Challenge Tour victory in Ahmedabad, Kapur`s focus switched immediately to the Avantha Masters, which will take place for the first time this year at Jaypee Greens GC, near New Delhi, his home and birthplace.
Kapur`s best performance in the Avantha Masters, which is tri-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and the Professional Golf Tour of India, came in 2011, when he finished in a tie for ninth place behind his compatriot S.S.P. Chowrasia.
Chowrasia`s triumph was the first, and so far only, home victory in the Avantha Masters; but having also recently won the Shubhkamna Champions - a tournament hosted by his friend and compatriot Jeev Milkha Singh - by three shots from Sweden`s Daniel Chopra, Kapur is understandably confident of mounting a bold bid to succeed South African Jbe` Kruger as champion when the fifth edition of the €1.8million event unfolds from March 14-17.
"I am playing very well. To win twice in two starts - first at the Shubhkamna Champions, and then at the Kensville Challenge - felt great, especially after not winning for a long time. Now I would love to follow in S.S.P`s footsteps and win a European Tour event at home. Adding the Avantha Masters to the Kensville Challenge and doing European double in India would be absolutely great," said Kapur.
The 31-year-old Indian, who has won once on the Asian Tour during his rookie year in 2005, is excited to get his solid early season form off to a flying start.
"I ended the 2012 season pretty well and then began 2013 on a winning note, so now I`m looking forward to playing a European Tour event at home."
The par-72 course at Jaypee Greens GC takes over the staging of the Avantha Masters from DLF Golf and Country Club, which hosted the tournament for three years from 2010.
Designed by Greg Norman, Jaypee Greens GC features 14 water hazards and 88 bunkers and, at 7,347 yards, is India`s longest course.