Golf: Indians hold edge at Avantha Masters trophy

first_imgIndian golfers have a major opportunity to win but they will have to overcome a strong challenge from the European Tour regulars at the ? 1.8mn Avantha Masters which tees off at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon on Thursday.Despite the absence of injured Jyoti Randhawa and US PGA Tour-bound Arjun Atwal, the cream of Indian golf, including Jeev Milkha Singh, defending champion SSP Chowrasia, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Anirban Lahiri, Himmat Singh Rai, Rahil Gangjee, Shiv Kapur and Chiragh Kumar, will be in the fray to lead the home challenge.However, the Indians will have to come up with their best for a victory as they will be up against European Tour regulars, who flourish on open courses like the one here. There will be as many as 37 European Tour winners with 67 titles between them and leading them from the front will be South African Richard Sterne, a five-time winner on the Tour.While Dutchman Joost Luiten, the latest winner on the European Tour with the Iskandar Johor title, will be a force to reckon with, former Avantha Masters champion Andrew Dodt of Australia has returned in pursuit of a second title.Considering their experience and record at home, 27 Indians in the field of 132 have a strong chance of winning the trophy on the final day. Three victories in five international events besides finishing second in one and third in another last year bears testimony to the dominance of Indian golfers at the home turf.Chowrasia, who is bidding for his third European Tour title, feels that the course conditions are well suited for the Indians. “The way the course has been prepared will definitely help an Indian to win. The greens are grainy and the course is not playing long which suits the game of local pros and I am sure somebody between us will take the Avantha honours,” he said.advertisementClouds of uncertainty are looming over Chowrasia’s participation after he sustained a minor wrist injury during practice on Tuesday and had to pull out of the Pro-Am on Wednesday.However, a 12: 40 pm tee off will give him enough time to get a treatment from physiotherapist on Thursday morning.”I pulled out of the Pro-Am as I wanted to give my wrist some rest and didn’t want to take any risk for Thursday’s tee off,” said Chowrasia.Jeev, a three-time winner on the European Tour, will be most-recognised Indian face in the fray, but other than the strong field, he also has to fight cold, which has been troubling him since last week.The tournament will also provide Gangjee an opportunity to wash out the nagging memories of missing out on a title, despite leading the field till the 15th hole on the final day in 2009.A two-time Major winner John Daly of USA, his 2004 British Open champion compatriot Toddt Hamilton and 2002 Ryder Cup winning European team’s vice- captain Paul McGinley (Ireland) are the international star attractions.And, the competition ascends to a new level with former-Indian Open winners, Thongchai Jaidee and Thaworn Wiratchant (both from Thailand) – triumphant on 25 occasions on the Asian and five on the European Tour – also participating.Aiming to continue their splendid run, will be Kieran Pratt (Australia) and Mardan Mamat (Singapore), who are the only winners on the Asian Tour this year at the Myanmar Open and Philippines Open respectively.In such a field, Indians will have to come out all guns blazing for a victory on the final day.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *