Updated: November 1, 2017 10:11:37 pm
India’s Arjun Atwal, whose last win in the country came at this very course in 2003, is looking forward to playing again in familiar conditions when he begins his chase for individual glory at the Panasonic Open at the Delhi Golf Club from tomorrow.
Atwal, to date the only Indian to have tasted success on the PGA Tour, has eight wins on the Asian Tour and of them, three were co-sanctioned with the European Tour. He also has one win each on Nationwide and PGA Tours.
Atwal’s last win came in Dubai in 2014 on Asian Tour, and he is itching to get another win.
“It’s nice to be playing at home again for the second time this year, especially at a place like Delhi Golf Club. I’ve been playing here since my junior days and I had a bit of success here. The year has been patchy for me. I would have liked to have a consistent run going and I think I’m pretty close to getting it going,” said Atwal.
He will also keep one eye open to spot at good candidates for Captain’s Picks, which he will need to make as the captain of the Asian Team for the EurAsia Cup in January next year.
On his own form, he said, “I have played very little this year. But I will be playing a lot in the next two months. I will also get a start on PGA Tour at RSM Classic. I will play Manila next week and then go to US for RSM Classic and then back to Hong Kong and Mauritius. That will also help me play my minimum.”
Featuring one of the strongest Indian contingents ever, the Panasonic Open India field includes every top Indian pro, barring the US-based Anirban Lahiri, and Jeev Milkha Singh, who pulled out at the last minute because of an injury sustained on his left following a freak incident.
Jeev hurt his left elbow while trying to open a coconut water bottle.
“I was really looking forward to this week, but I need to rest and allow the elbow to heel,” said Jeev.
The field includes all four Indians, who have tasted success on the Asian Tour this season. Leading the way is SSP Chawrasia, who successfully defended his Hero Indian Open earlier this year, and he is followed by Shiv Kapur, who won in Yeangder Heritage, Ajeetesh Sandhu, winner at the Yeangder TPC and Gaganjeet Bhullar at Macao Open.
Jyoti Randhawa, who now divides his time between golf and ‘adventure sports’, is the most successful player at DGC, having won four Asian Tour titles here, besides another couple of Indian tour titles.
“These days I play to enjoy myself and I am loving it,” said Randhawa, who was Tied-2nd with Rashid Khan last year, as Mukesh won the title.
Gaganjeet Bhullar and Shiv Kapur are both back to their winning ways, while Ajeetesh Sandhu has just broken through. Rashid Khan, twice winner on Asian Tour in the past, has not won since 2014 but looks ready to do so on his home turf, just as he did for his maiden win in 2014.
Meanwhile the young brigade with likes of Shubhankar Sharma, Khalin Joshi, S Chikkarangappa and Udayan Mane will also fancy their chances.
The international challenge will include the most successful of all Asian Tour stars, Thaworn Wiratchant, who has 18 titles on the Tour. However, he has not won since his Kings Cup and Queen’s Cup double in 2014.
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