The leaderboard at the Hero Indian Open 2013 indicates that Indian golf is in a very healthy state. True I am disappointed not to be in the thick action out there,but it was not to be.
Going into the final round of the 50th Hero Indian Open,there are five Indians in top-10,with SSP Chowrasia in second,Rashid Khan in tied third and Anirban Lahiri in fifth place. Chiragh Kumar,who along with Lahiri was my teammate at the 2006 Asian Games,is tied eighth with Rahil Gangjee,who was unlucky to find two double bogeys today. By the way,Lahiri had nine birdies and two doubles and no bogeys in his 67.
True golf aficionados of the game and there are quite a few at the Delhi Golf Club) will tell you that seeing three Indians in the top-five of the leaderboard in an Asian Tour event was unimaginable when the great Peter Thompson conquered these greens and even as recently as when Ali Sher won the Indian Open twice. Today,it is a common occurrence,more so when the event takes place in India.
Personally it was a disappointment,missing out on the final rounds of what is the most prestigious event in the country. During my preparation for this season at the end of 2012,I had clearly penciled down the Hero Indian Open as an event I wanted to win. Especially since the 50th edition was being played this year. This was not to be but I take pleasure in the success of my fellow Indians.
Chowrasia is growing from strength to strength each year. He recently lost his European Tour card but has come back strongly since and is making a statement in every event he plays.
Playing in the lead group,he for sure will want to win having narrowly missed out on the crown twice before,the last time being 2006 when Jyoti Randhawa beat Chowrasia and Vijay Kumar in a three-way playoff.
Rashid Khan is the new star of Indian golf. His position atop the PGTI Order of Merit is courtesy two wins in the 2013 season. With his confidence high he will certainly not like to settle for second place considering this could be his first triumph on the Asian Tour and could open out huge possibilities for the coming two season.
Anirban is another dangerous customer. Unlike Rashid,he has the experience of competing at this stage given that he is currently ranked fourth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit. Anirban has also tasted blood with three victories on the Asian Tour. He knows the feeling and will come out baying for another win. By the way Anirban beat Rashid in the play-off at SAIL-SBI Open this year at the same venue.
Finally coming to the leader,Siddikur has been nothing short of a revelation ever since he took to playing the Asian Tour. His record at the Delhi Golf Club is outstanding. I heard he has a win here at the All-India Amateur Championship in 2004 and as a pro,he has six top-ten finishes including five top-five efforts and two top-two positions. Siddikur is yet to win a tournament at the Delhi Golf Club as a professional and has won only once as a pro on Asian Tour. Sunday could change that,unless there is a severe reversal of form and the Indians go on a overdrive.
Anything is possible in golf and either way it will be a historic day as the 50th Hero Indian Open champion is crowned on Sunday.
Scores: 17 Mohd. Siddikur (BAN) (66-66-67); 13- S.S.P. Chowrasia (IND) (69-68-66); 12- Rashid Khan (IND) (69-70-65),Angelo Que (PHI) (69-68-67); 11- Anirban Lahiri (IND) (71-67-67)
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