Taunk starts firm favourite

Local lads Udayan, Syed and Trishul among chief contenders

The country’s top amateurs will be slugging it out for supremacy in the Tata Steel Southern India Amateur Golf Championship that tees off at the Karnataka Golf Association here on Tuesday.

As many as 99 players will be battling for the top honours at the par-72 course but the biggest talking point is the presence of the top 22 players from the Order of Merit.
While Merit List leader Karan Taunk starts as the favourite, things won’t be made easy for him by three local lads Udayan Mane, Syed Saqib Ahmed and Trishul Chinnappa. The trio, who occupy the second, third and fourth spots in the Merit List, will be keen on making the best use of their knowledge about KGA course, which can prove to be a major challenge for visitors with its pacy greens and narrow fairways.

Apart from the trio, there are a handful of contenders who have the potential to go the distance in what promises to be an action-packed four-day ride. Manu Gandas, who triumphed in the Southern India Juniors at the same venue a couple of months back, looks in ominous touch after notching up a morale-boosting win at the Tamil Nadu Amateur Championship in Coimbatore last week. Gandas also won the silver medal in the Asian Youth Games at Nanjing prior to his win in Coimbatore and the teenager will be keen to cash in on his rich vein of form.

Amongst the experienced campaigners, the battle will be between three-time Sri Lankan Open Amateur champion Simarjeet Singh (No 7 in Merit List), Vikram Rana (No 10), Gagan Verma and Jasjeet Singh.

With heavy rains battering the City during the last two nights, the course may play a bit long which could pose a slight dilemma over club selections. Add the sultry weather of the mornings, the task has just gotten trickier.

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