Shiv Kapur will present a strong challenge at Indian Open

New Delhi: India`s Shiv Kapur and Jyoti Randhawa will compete in a very competitive field, including many a Asian golf stars, when the prestigious 50th Hero Indian Open begins here on Thursday.

Kapur is going into the tournament high on confidence after winning title in Dubai, where he earned playing rights in Europe for next season.

Kapur will be joined by an elite field at the USD 1.25 million Asian Tour event which include Arjun Atwal, the Asian Tour number one in 2003, PGA Tour winners Daniel Chopra of Sweden and Michael Thompson of the United States and David Gleeson of Australia, the 2011 Hero Indian Open champion.

Randhawa, who won the Indian Open in 2000, 2006 and 2007, Siddikur, the first Bangladeshi to play and win on the Asian Tour, Angelo Que of the Philippines, Pariya Junhasavasdikul of Thailand and SSP Chowrasia of India, all multiple Asian Tour winners, will also feature in the prestigious event.

Fresh from a satisfying but mentally exhausting win in Dubai, Kapur is determined to win Indian Open, which he terms as the fifth Major tournament for all Indian golfers.

"Every year I sit here and keeping telling all of you that it is always my dream to win the Indian Open. It is the fifth Major for all of us and I would love to win it, more so because it is held at the Delhi Golf Club," said the 31-year-old Kapur.

"Obviously the Indian Open being in its 50th year makes it more special. The fact that I`m coming into this week with a little bit of form will help my chances. It will mean a lot more than winning last week," he added.

With a string of solid results this year, Kapur is eager to take advantage of his consistent form where he won two tournaments and has four other top-10 results.

"It is not my last chance at winning it but I would say that it is my best chance at winning. I know I got a few more years to try and win the Indian Open but it is not often that you come into a week, feeling that you are playing closed to your best.

"It is satisfying to win but you get weeks when you are playing really well and not win. You have to have a fair share of luck to win. I had a couple of good breaks go my way so hopefully it is a sign of good things to come," Kapur added.

Thompson, who is playing on a sponsor’s invitation this week, hopes to follow in the footsteps of the late Payne Stewart, who headlined and won the 1981 Indian Open.

"I got the chance of meeting him (Stewart) when I was eight or seven years old and remember getting his autograph. To be here and playing on the same golf course where he tasted success is a great honour. I hope that I can go out and perform to the best of my abilities and beat a really strong field," said the American, who won his first PGA Tour title in March.

Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand has opted to keep the big stick out of the golf bag to avoid any temptations of hitting the driver off the tees at the tree-lined Delhi Golf Club. He finished third at the Hero Indian Open last year and will be aiming for another solid result.

"The driver is sitting in the hotel. I’m committed to that. If I’m angry, then I won’t smash my driver! This is my sixth time playing at the Delhi Golf Club and I’m probably feeling the most confidence playing here," said the 20-year-old Thai, who is chasing for his first Asian Tour win.

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