Top players in fray at All-India Amateur golf

February 15th, 2009 - 7:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Feb 15 (IANS) After 11 tournaments this season, the stage is set for the flagship event of the Amateur Tour, the LG All-India Amateur Championship that begins here Monday. The 108th edition of the tournament will be held at Royal Calcutta Golf Club, which had hosted the first edition of the All-India back in 1892.

Abhishek Jha, winner of the last two tournaments on tour- the LG Western India Amateur and the LG Noida Open Amateur - will enter the tournament with a lot of confidence.

The 22-year-old from Bangalore said: “I had a bit of a poor run through the middle of the season but two back-to-back wins have given me confidence and I think with the way I am playing I can go deep into the tournament. But having said that, I want to go out there and play my game and not focus too much on the result.” Abhishek was runner-up last year.

Golf connoisseurs in the city will also be closely following the progress of young Rashid Khan in the tournament. Rashid, who celebrated his 18th birthday Sunday, sounded optimistic of his chances. “I am playing well and I am looking to carry that momentum into this tournament.”

“This is my second shot at the All-India title and I would love to win it,” he said. But these two strong contenders will face stiff competition from the rest of the field.

All top players, including number one on the LG Order of Merit list Gagan Verma, will be seen in action.

The tournament this year will see teams from Bangladesh, Nepal and Afghanistan, apart from an individual entry from South Korea.

The LG All-India Amateur will be played on a twin-format. It starts with a two-day strokeplay championship, which will act as the qualifying round.

The top 64 players after the completion of the first two days will battle it out in matchplay format before the winner is decided after a 36-hole playoff in the finals. The strokeplay championship will also decide the team championship.

India has fielded two teams with Gagan Verma and Vikram Rana pairing up to make up the ‘A’ team and Moin Malak and H.S. Kang making up the ‘B’ team.

Last year, Chandigarh lad Rahul Bakshi held aloft the All-India title to become the youngest winner of the tournament.

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