Gurugram, Haryana, 21-02-2023
Two-time champion Chawrasia and rookie Gandas have their plans in place as Indians look to reclaim Hero Indian Open title
Two-time champion SSP Chawrasia and DP World Tour rookie Manu Gandas have their respective plans in place as a strong contingent of Indians look to reclaim the Hero Indian Open title for the host nation for the first time since 2017.
The seasoned Chawrasia, a four-time winner on the DP World Tour, will be leading the Indian charge along with Gandas, who earned a card on the DP World Tour this season as a result of finishing number one in the TATA Steel PGTI Rankings last year.
The US$ 2 million event will be played at the challenging DLF Golf and Country Club from February 23 – 26. This will be the first staging of the Indian Open since 2019 as the tournament was affected by the successive waves of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As usual, the Indian contingent is very big and strong as they always are on home turf. The last Indian winner, SSP Chawrasia, who won the 2017 edition of the event at this very layout and had also won another European Tour event back in 2011 at the older course, is now back for another shot at the title.
The 44-year-old SSP said, “To be honest it’s a very important tournament for us Indian golfers as a win here opens many more opportunities for us to play on the DP World Tour.”
Adding his weight to the DP World Tour tie-up with the PGTI, he said, “I think it’s a good thing as more Indians can graduate from the PGTI to a much higher level. Already the winner of last year’s Order of Merit, Manu Gandas has a full card for this year for Europe.”
Speaking about his mantra for the course, he said, “I like to hit it straight and if I can get on the green with 10 feet or less to putt, I always back myself. Shoot straight and keep the putt numbers low was the way for me in the past and it worked pretty well.”
Manu Gandas was on fire last year having won a record six titles during the 2022 PGTI season. He also amassed a record season’s earnings of Rs. 88,50,688. The 26-year-old Gandas is now upbeat about getting an opportunity to play on the highly-competitive DP World Tour.
Manu said, “It was definitely a surprise. Last year I got to know during the Kolkata week that it was a possibility for me to earn playing rights on the DP World Tour so I am very grateful to the PGTI and DP World Tour for the opportunity. I will be playing a lot of new courses and a key factor I feel will be learning to adapt to them as and when I get the chance and I plan to keep going with that approach.”
Gandas, appearing at the Indian Open for the second time, the last being in 2018, also spoke about the added advantage of the DLF Golf & Country Club being his home course, “It is another week so in one sense it will not be very different, nothing changes from that point of view. Also as you know this is my home course and I play on it a lot so that will definitely give me an advantage. But at the end of the day you have to play your own game and take it day by day even if it is a familiar territory.”
Speaking about his earliest memories of the Indian Open, Manu said, “I first heard of the Indian Open when I was still playing junior events. I used to watch it first at the Delhi Golf Club and after that over here at the DLF Golf and Country Club. It has got a great heritage, it is the National Open and it will be a proud moment for me to do well in it.”
The leading international names that headline the field this week are those of Scotsmen Stephen Gallacher (defending champion) and Robert MacIntyre and Danes Nicolai Højgaard and Thorbjørn Olesen.
Besides SSP Chawrasia and Manu Gandas, the other prominent Indian names in the field include Shubhankar Sharma, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Shiv Kapur, Rashid Khan, Ajeetesh Sandhu, Khalin Joshi, Jyoti Randhawa, Udayan Mane, Shamim Khan, Chikkarangappa, Veer Ahlawat, Karandeep Kochhar, Yuvraj Singh Sandhu and 2023 PGTI Rankings leader Sachin Baisoya, to name a few.
Formed in 2006, Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) is the recognised official body of professional golf in India. PGTI's objective is to promote professional golf in the country, as well as to give players an opportunity to be involved in the decision making on all aspects of the game. Headed by Mr. Srinivasan H R (President), PGTI's governing body comprises leading Indian golf professionals. PGTI currently has over 300 members.
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