Strong international star cast for Hero Indian Open

A strong Indian contingent comprising former champions will take on an equally strong international star cast at the Hero Indian Open which tees off at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon on March 19.

The flagship event of Indian golf — which is also the longest-running international event in India — will see almost all top Indian golfers, including past champions such as SSP Chawrasia (2016 and 2017), Anirban Lahiri (2015) and three-time winner Jyoti Randhawa (2000, 2006 and 2007), in action at the Gary Player layout.

Established champions such as Shiv Kapur, Rashid Khan, Rahil Gangjee, Shubhankar Sharma and many others will also be in fray as a total of 144 players will vie for top honours at the $1.75 million tournament.

PGTI regulars such as Udayan Mane, who has won the last three events on the domestic tour, Viraj Madappa, Khalin Joshi, S Chikkarangappa, Ajeetesh Sandhu, Aman Raj, Kshitij Naveed Kaul, Karandeep Kochhar and Veer Ahlawat will all be hoping to strike it big at India’s biggest golfing event.

Defending champion Stephen Gallacher of Scotland had won his first professional title in Asia and his third on the European Tour when he triumphed in Delhi last year.

The former Ryder Cup player had staged a remarkable comeback by firing three birdies in his closing four holes to win the Hero Indian Open by one-shot over Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura and the Scot will be back to defend his title.

The stellar international field will also include past Indian Open champions such as Matt Wallace (2018), Siddikur Rahman (2013), David Gleeson (2011), Liang Wen-chong (2008) and Mardan Mamat (2004).

Dane Thomas Bjorn, the winning captain of 2018 European Ryder Cup team, Dutch golfer Joost Luiten, a six-time European Tour winner and Andy Sullivan, a three-time European Tour winner, will also be vying for honours at the 56th edition of the tournament, which is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and Asian Tour.

A quartet of fresh talent such as Justin Suh of the United States, a former world number 1 amateur; Akshay Bhatia, a golfer of Indian origin who represents the US and is a much-decorated amateur, Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard and Matthew Jordan of England — all will look to make the week their own.

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