New Delhi: Immensely successful on Indian
courses, Sweden`s Rikard Karlberg will face a strong Indian
challenge in his quest for a third Asian Tour title in the
country when he returns to his happy hunting ground the Delhi
Golf Club for the SAIL Open later this month.
Aiming for a hat-trick of wins at the Delhi Golf Club,
the 2010 Asian Tour`s Rookie of the Year will be hoping that
the winning memories at the fabled venue will carry him to a
successful title defence in the USD 300,000 event from March
22 to 25.
He will however face a strong challenge from home
golfers, who have been very successful on home turf.
This year both international events in India have been
won by Indians. Gaganjeet Bhullar won the Gujarat Kensville
and SSP Chowrasia took the Avantha Masters.
A strong cast of Asian Tour champions including local
hero Jyoti Randhawa, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Thai legend Thaworn
Wiratchant, a 12-time winner in Asia, Australian Darren Beck
and Chinese Taipei`s Chan Yih-shin will also feature in the
fourth edition of the SAIL Open.
The Delhi Golf Club, known for its challenging layout and
sprinkling of historical tombs and monuments on the golf
course, was last conquered by the talented Swede in the Hero
Honda Indian Open in December which helped him finish third on
the Order of Merit.
"It feels just amazing. I feel so comfortable when I`m in
India. I receive a lot of support from the fans and I really
like it there," said the 24-year-old Karlberg.
Randhawa, a former Asian Tour Order of Merit champion,
will be hoping that a return to Delhi Golf Club will spark a
boost to his form after a lackluster 2010 season.
The eight-time Asian Tour winner finished third in the
SAIL Open 12 months ago and has won the Indian Open twice at
the Delhi Golf Club, which will mark him out as one of the
early title contenders.
Bhullar has been on a winning spree in 2011. He has won
three events on the Indian domestic Tour besides the Gujarat
Kensville event, a European Challenge Tour tourney held in
India. Bhullar is also a two-time winner on Asian Tour.
The Chinese Taipei`s Chan believes he has become a better
player since winning the 2009 King`s Cup in Thailand. He
secured three top-10s last year and was one of the most
consistent players on the Asian Tour with only four missed
cuts in 17 appearances.
South African Peter Karmis, who broke through last year
with a victory at the Handa Singapore Classic, and Thailand`s
Udorn Duangdecha, victorious at the King`s Cup on home soil,
are the other top names who will be looking to dethrone
Karlberg at the SAIL Open.