Kapur looks to defend title

Kapur looks to defend title

India golfers will look to continue their domination in the Panasonic Open when it tees off at Delhi Golf Club on Thursday.

The US $400,000 event, which began in 2011, has been won by Indians six times in seven stagings. This year there are 69 Indians in the 126-man field which include the defending champion Shiv Kapur and three other past champions Digvijay Singh (2012), Chiragh Kumar (2015) and Mukesh Kumar (2016). The field also features India’s legends like Jeev Milkha Singh, Jyoti Randhawa, Feroz Ali among others.

Kapur had also won the Panasonic Swing last year – which is an aggregate points race that spans five events – in Thailand, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan. He would be eager to go for an encore here. “Winning here was a dream come true and winning a second time and becoming the first player to become a repeat winner here would indeed be an icing on the cake,,” he said,

Viraj Madappa, winner of TAKE Solutions Masters in his Rookie Year, accompanied by coach, Tarun Serdesai, was full of confidence. “I am playing well and have had some good results,” he said.

Leading the international challenge will be the in-form Thailand's Tirawat Kaewsiribandit, who has won his last two starts – first at the Asian Tour event in Pakistan and then in a domestic event in Thailand. Tirawat is now looking at a hat-trick of titles to celebrate this golden period.

Apart from Tirawat, there is his compatriot Jazz Janewattananond, 22, a two-times Asian Tour winner, and Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, who has finished in the Top-10 at the Delhi Golf Club in at least 10 Asian Tour events over the last decade. He also won the Hero Indian Open here in 2013.

Meanwhile, young guns Aadil Bedi (17), Kshitij Naveed Kaul (17) and Yuvraj Sandhu (21) have chosen the tournament as the platform to take the plunge into the world of professional golf.

Bedi, who is supported by the Virat Kohli Foundation, and has also found some sponsors, feels he is ready for the rigours of pro golf, while Kaul was “excited” to play his first event as a professional on his home course.