Golf: Focus on the Indians in the Asian encounter

NEW DELHI: Indian fans and rookies will win in the absence of the three best players in the Order of Merit of the Asian Tour and big Indian names like Anirban Lahiri , Gaganjeet Bhullar & Shubhankar Sharma in the inaugural classic Golf Country Club International Championship, which begins next Thursday (September 12).

The Indian challenge will be led by former Asia No. 1 Jyoti Randhawa . Asian Tour title holders Digvijay Singh & Chiragh Kumar along with talented professionals like Khalin Joshi & Viraj Madappa, who completed their breakthrough wins last season will be the ones to watch out for.

While Joshi won the Panasonic Open at the Delhi Golf Club, Madappa clinched the TAKE Solutions Masters in Bengaluru.

The field will also include Ajeetesh Sandhu, who won his first Asian Circuit event in Taiwan in 2017. In addition, Delhi's professional, Rashid Khan, will seek a title since his twin victories in 2014.

Two-time Asian Development Tour champion Chikkarangappa S. will also look to go the distance this time by breaking the Asian Tour title jinx on home soil. Chikka had also represented the country at the World Cup of Golf in 2016 alongside four-time European Tour title-winner SSP Chowrasia.

“I have come close many times, but not quite closed the deal. But now with the Classic Golf & Country International, I am hoping the home atmosphere will help me get past the line,” said Chikka.

Since 2011, the events of the Asian Tour in India have produced at least two local winners every year, except once in 2013, making them formidable in their family territory.

Four Indian rookies — Kshitij Naveed Kaul, Aadil Bedi, Priyanshu Singh & Yuvraj Singh Sandhu — along with promising amateurs Harshjeet Singh Sethie & Kartik Sharma will hope to make the most of the opportunity come Thursday. Sethie & Sharma will be representing India at the prestigious Nomura Cup.

Fit, Miguel Carballo of Argentina will lead the international field. Carballo canceled a six-time deficit to win the $ 500,000 Indonesia Bank-BRI Open last week.

The last time Classic Golf u0026 Country Club hosted a tournament of this stature was way back in 2009, when Thailand's Chapchai Nirat won the SAIL-SBI Open with a 72-hole record tally of 32-under-par.

To make the course challenging, the organisers will tighten pin positions & overgrow the roughs. “We have grown the roughs & will tighten the landing areas as its a wide layout. Classic GCC is a course that rewards great shots & penalises the bad ones & that is what we expect during the tournament week,” said Asian Tour's Rahul Singh.