Chawrasia, Bhullar, Jeev lead strong Indian challenge in Japan
Four-time European Tour winner, SSP Chawrasia will headline a large Indian contingent of 11 professionals which will tee up at the Panasonic Open Japan golf tournament here tomorrow.
The contingent includes the only two Indians to have won in Japan, Jyoti Randhawa (in 2003) and Jeev Milkha Singh (four times, twice each in 2006 and 2008), but there are a host of players, who have won all over.
Leading them is Chawrasia, who returns to the Tour for the first time since successfully defending his National Open, the Hero Indian Open.
In a 12-month period, from March 2016 to March 2017, Chawrasia won three times, including his first win outside India. The 37-year-old now has six Asian Tour titles, four of which have been co-sanctioned with Europe.
The Indians in the field this week are Chawrasia, Jeev Milkha Singh, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Rashid Khan, Jyoti Randhawa, Arjun Atwal, Shiv Kapur, Chiragh Kumar, Rahil Gangjee, S. Chikkarangappa, and Shubhankar Sharma.
Barring Chikka and Shubhankar, all others have tasted wins on Asian Tour.
Chawrasia, one of the strong favourites this week, said, “My last event on the Asian Tour was at the Indian Open which I won. So, I’m really feeling very high on confidence now.
“The celebrations lasted for one week and I had several parties with family and friends. Obviously, the party’s over and it’s time to start practicing again, which I’ve been doing for the last couple of weeks. The weather’s good and the course conditions are perfect,” he said.
“Before my win in Manila last year, I was always putting a lot of pressure on myself to get that first win outside India. But now that I’ve won abroad, it has taken a lot of that mental pressure off my mind. I’m totally relaxed now and it’s good. I’m ready and looking forward to playing well this week.”
Liang, the 2007 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, secured his second title in Japan last week and is determined to ride on his rich vein of form as he takes on the 138-man field from the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation.
Defending champion Yuta Ikeda will spearhead the local challenge alongside some of the brightest talents from Japan that include Koumei Oda, Masanori Kobayashi and Shingo Katayama.
Victory at the approximately USD 1.37million event is also what Thailand’s 17-year-old Phachara Khongwatmai is hoping for following a solid start to the season where he has already secured two runner-up finishes in Singapore and Australia.
Over 30 Tour winners from over 15 countries are set to feature at the Panasonic OPEN Japan which is the third event to be co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO) this year.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)