Top stars for Indian Open

The creme de la creme of Asia and a handful of European stars will add glitter to the 49th Hero Indian Open that makes its maiden trip to South India this year.

Thirty-five of the top 40 players from the Asian Tour Order of Merit List, including Anirban Lahiri, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Shiv Kapur, Jbe Kruger and 2009 champion C Muniyappa will be part of the 156-member field along with European Tour winners Peter Hanson and Richie Ramsay at the Oct 18-21 event at the Karnataka Golf Association.

“The Indian Open is one of the most important sporting events in the country and we are happy to be associated with it,” said KGA president Sumit Rathor at a press conference here on Tuesday.

“The KGA has hosted several top amateur and pro events and this one will be the jewel in our crown. Interestingly, three-time Indian Open winner and five-time winner of the The Open Championship, Peter Thomson, had designed the original KGA course. So, it’s nice to have the event here.”

In the last 48 editions, the Indian Open -- the country’s oldest running international sporting event -- has generally being shared between Delhi and Kolkata and Mike Kerr, CEO of Asian Tour, praised the Indian Golf Union for taking the event to newer destinations.

“India’s national championship has achieved several milestones in its illustrious history and the latest one is moving to a new place. We appreciate IGU in its bid to take the game across the country which is very important for the development of the sport,” he said.

When queried about the facilities at the KGA as compared to some of the other courses in Asia, Kerr said he was impressed by the test reports from the organising committee.

“We conducted several tests at the KGA prior to awarding them the event and I’ve only heard glowing reports from my men. The course and facilities here are second to none compared to some of the top courses in Asia. However, with KGA hosting an Asian Tour event for the first time, it is expected to throw up some challenges and we are geared up to counter them.”

Meanwhile, there is still no confirmation on the participation of four-time European Tour winner Jeev Milkha Singh and Arjun Atwal, India’s only champion on the PGA Tour. “So far, there is no news from them and we hope they turn up,” said Yannick Colaco, CEO of Nimbus Sport.

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