New Delhi: Indian golfers have a stellar record at the Delhi Golf Club and they will look to make the most out of their familiarity with the course when the Panasonic Open India begins here on Thursday.
Even though the country's two best golfers at the moment - Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P. Chawrasia - are away playing in Shanghai at the WGC-HSBC Champions, the local field for the upcoming edition is still strong.
Rahil Gangjee, who lost in a play-off to last year’s winner Chawrasia, has since got back into decent form, and Chiragh Kumar, a runner-up at the recent Macao Open last month, has also had a runner-up finish at his home course DGC in 2011, and looks ready to grab his maiden Asian Tour title.
Gaganjeet Bhullar, who is slowly running back into form after fighting injuries for almost a year, is keen to get back into the winners’ circle and add to the five titles on the Asian Tour he has already won. Rashid Khan won his maiden title at the DGC and then added one more in Thailand and he will be looking to get one more this week.
The ‘experienced lot’ includes one of India’s star golfers, Jyoti Randhawa, who these days often spends time skydiving and other Adventure sports, and Digvijay Singh, who has similar hobbies, and is also a former winner at Panasonic Open India. Randhawa has eight titles on the Asian Tour, of which four have been at this course.
Chiragh enjoyed a second place result at the Delhi course in his National Open in 2011 but struggled with an ankle injury in the following year.
He returned to his best form after contending for the Venetian Macao Open title three weeks ago against inaugural Panasonic Open India winner Lahiri and eventual Macao Open champion Scott Hend of Australia.
“Having a good result gives you a lot of confidence but what’s more important is that I contended against Scott and Anirban! I was able to keep up with them and that gives me a lot of confidence and makes me believe that I can be out there and play against them," he said.
And then there is a whole bunch of youngsters from S. Chikka, who last week defended his Asian Development Tour title at the Take Solutions Masters in Bengaluru, his fellow Karnataka golfer, Khalin Joshi, runner-up at Bangladesh Open on Asian Tour, apart from 19-year-old Shubhankar Sharma, Himmat Rai and many others.
Bhullar said, “I am getting back to my old game and I am now more confident and am trusting my swing. I had good weeks in Macao and Hong Kong and am looking forward to the Panasonic Open this week.”
Among the foreigners, focus will be on Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka, Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, two-time Asian Tour champion Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand and two-time Indian Open winner Marcus Both of Australia.