India’s new hero Chowrasia back on course at SAIL Open

February 19th, 2008 - 5:26 pm ICT by admin  


New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) Life begins a new cycle for Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia, the latest hero in Indian golf, as he returns to the golf course for the first since winning his maiden title on the Asian and European Tours, as he tees up for the $400,000 SAIL Open Golf Championship at the lovely Jaypee Greens Resort, on the outskirts of New Delhi Wednesday. Chowrasia, who stunned a classy field including Ernie Els at the EMAAR-MGF Indian Masters last fortnight, has been swamped by media attention and the sheer emotion of such a big win forced him to take a week off.

“I needed time for myself and re-think about my whole career,” said Chowrasia, who reached Delhi Monday night and played at the Jaypee Greens only Tuesday morning. “All the celebrations back home in Kolkata was great, but I did manage a little bit of practice.”

Chowrasia, along with three-time Hero Honda Indian Open champion Jyoti Randhawa, will lead the Indian challenge in the inaugural SAIL Open, which is being presented by Jaypee Greens.

The event, which puts SAIL and Jaypee Greens firmly on the international golfing map, will be jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), which have had great success this year. The SAIL Open will raise the number of Asian Tour tournaments in India to four this season.

Chowrasia won the Indian Masters and led three Indians in the top-10 in the Asian Tour Order of Merit. And a week later, as Chowrasia took a break, Jeev Milkha Singh was placed second with three Indians in top-10. Currently, the Order of Merit has six Indians in top eight.

“Indian golf is seeing a big change. We have a whole lot of talented players, who can win on any day,” said Jyoti Randhawa, who divides his time between Asian and European Tours, but always makes sure of playing in India, where his success rate is fantastic.

“I love playing in India and Jaypee Greens is a great course. I have always enjoyed playing here,” said Randhawa, who in the past has won BILT Open, the biggest event on domestic PGTI Tour, at the same venue.

The star studded Indian field includes Digviay Singh and Gaurav Ghei, fourth and sixth respectively at the Indian Masters, besides Rahil Gangjee, winner of the 2004 Volkswagen Masters in China.

Seasoned Amandeep Johl, Harmeet Kahlon, Ashok Kumar and Feroz Ali will also be in the field as will be the youth brigade led by Gurbaaz Mann, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Anirban Lahiri and Ranjit Singh among others.

“This is an exciting time for Indian golf and an event in India offers a great opportunity for Indian players,” added Chowrasia.

The top Asian stars from outside India will include Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, a former Asia No. 1, Mardan Mamat of Singapore and Hendrik Buhrmann of South Africa.

While Thaworn and Mardan have won the Indian Open in the past, Buhrmann won the Amby Valley Asian Masters. Prayad Marksaeng, Bryan Saltus, Chinrat Phadungsil, Anthony Kang, Adam Blyth, Thammannoon Srirot will be among the foreign challengers.

Steel Authority of India (SAIL), India’s largest integrated steel producer, is making its first foray into international golf.

The venue, Jaypee Greens is one of the finest in India and has been a regular host to some of the biggest events on PGTI Tour. The latest event will unveil the lovely course with world-class facilities on the outskirts of Delhi in Greater Noida to the top stars of Asia and enhance its growing reputation as one of the finest courses in South Asia.

“As one of the first world-class designer courses in North India, Jaypee Greens has a special place in Indian golf. We are proud to host the top stars of Asia and India and we hope the event will help our existing stars and upcoming talent to compete with the best in the continent,” said Rita Dixit, executive president, Jaypee Greens.

Ajai Gupta, tour commissioner of PGTI, added: “Indian golf has finally come of age. The prize money in Indian golf, as also Asian golf, is now commensurate with the quality that we have. I am sure the emergence of the SAIL Open at Jaypee Greens as a new event on Indian soil and on the Asian Tour will further enhance India’s contribution to the promotion of sport in the continent.”

The event is being promoted by ADPROS and Fast Forward India. Apart from the tournament, a Pro-Am event will also be held on Sunday, where leaders of Indian industry and the government will play alongside the top professionals.

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