New Delhi, 06-11-2013

Shiv Kapur leads a strong local challenge at 2013 Indian Open

The Indian contingent is expected to mount a serious challenge at the Indian Open this year. Shiv Kapur, who recently earned his European Tour card for 2014, will lead the local challenge. Kapur hit a purple patch recently with a win and a runner-up finish in the European Challenge Tour. He also posted a top-20 at the CIMB Classic two weeks back.

Shiv, currently ranked eighth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, said, “Obviously the Indian Open being in its 50th year makes it more special. Winning here will mean a lot more than winning last week.

“It is not my last chance at winning it but I would say that it is my best chance at winning. I know I got a few more years trying to win the Indian Open but it is not often that you come into a week, feeling that you are playing close to your best.”

Kapur, who enjoyed the lead for a brief period at the British Open this year, commented on how his approach had changed over the years.

“I’m a bit more patient on the golf course now. I used to get hot under the collar or agitated when I made mistakes but I think I handled it better this year. I‘ve got better at accepting my bad breaks.”

He added, “I’m trying to improve on my short game because that’s the scoring zone. From tee to green I’m up there with the best. However, I’ve been losing ground in my short game.

Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri, currently ranked third and fourth on the Asian Tour respectively, will be the other two top contenders from the host nation.

Lahiri, who won an Asian Tour event at the DGC earlier this year, is of the view that Indian golfers have a good chance of winning their National Open this year.

“Coming into this week, I think the whole bunch of us is looking strong to keep the Indian Open title at home. Muniyappa won the Indian Open in 2009 and since then, no Indian has won it so it will be nice to break that run and keep the title at home,” said Anirban.

The Bangalore-based golfer also emphasized the fact that over the years the advantage the Indians had at the Delhi Golf Club has eroded.

“We have been playing at Delhi Golf Club so often now. When that happens, whether you are Indian or not, you are playing here at least six or nine times in two or three years. It is a level playing field now. For me, I only play on this golf course in the Asian Tour events. Strategy and accuracy are probably the main areas that you need to be on top of.”

Former winners Jyoti Randhawa and Arjun Atwal, both of whom have been the flag-bearers of Indian professional golf over the last decade and a half, will be keen to make an impact at the Indian Open once again. Randhawa is fresh from a runner-up finish on the Asian Tour last month.

SSP Chowrasia and Digvijay Singh, both winners of international events at the DGC, add to the strong Indian presence. Himmat Singh Rai, a winner on the Asian Tour, will also be a name to reckon with among the young Indian professionals.

Three other former champions, C Muniyappa, Ali Sher and Feroz Ali Mollah, will look to turn back the clock with impressive performances while the seasoned Gaurav Ghei is expected to bring all his experience to the fore at his home course.

Chiragh Kumar, Manav Jaini, Shamim Khan, Rashid Khan and Ashok Kumar have all grown up playing at the DGC and are capable of springing a few surprises.

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