Gurugram: No player has won the Panasonic Open India more than once and Khalin Joshi will be among the select band to try and do it for the first time, when the event tees off at a new venue.
The US$400,000 full field Asian Tour event will be played from November 14-17 at the Classic Golf and Country Club for the first time. The previous editions were held at the Delhi Golf Club.
Players from as many as 17 countries have entered for the event, which has become well-known for producing Indian winners. Seven of the eight winners going back to 2011 have been Indian, but no one has been able to repeat the success.
The 2019 edition will see five of the eight previous winners return to the event with Joshi leading the way and Shiv Kapur, Mukesh Kumar, Chiragh Kumar and Digvijay Singh giving Joshi company in the winners’ gallery.
Joshi, who had a series of Top-10s before grabbing his first win at the Panasonic Open India, will be hoping to buck the trend and become the first repeat winner.
A bunch of talented Indians from Shiv Kapur to Khalin Joshi, Ajeetesh Sandhu, Rashid Khan, Viraj Madappa, S Chikkrangappa, Aadil Bedi among others could lift that lovely trophy besides winning the Blue Jacket, that has become the tradition for winners of Panasonic Open India.
The international challenge will be led by Asian Tour winners like Rory Hie of Indonesia, who won the Classic Golf & Country Club Championship at the same course in September, Thais Suradit Yongcharoenchai, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit, Prom Meesawat and Danthai Boonma, Argentine Miguel Carballo, Filipino Miguel Tabuena, Australian Jason Norris among others.
Another highlight of the event will be the presence of India’s ‘Big Three’ Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa, all of them now senior professionals. Between them they have won titles on every major Tour of the world, ranging from US PGA to European, Asian and Japan Tours.
“They have been the standard torchbearers of Indian golf for more than two decades and they, more than anyone else, would be pleased to see the revolution in Indian professional golf. It was they, after all, who set the wheels in motion.
The generation next to them now being led by Shiv Kapur, Anirban Lahiri, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Shubhankar Sharma, ply their trade on Asian, European and PGA Tours. And they in turn have inspired the current crop including Ajeetesh Sandhu, Khalin Joshi, Rashid Khan and many others.
Shirish Agarwal, Head Marketing Communication & Brand, Panasonic India said, “Panasonic Open India has been an incredible platform to encourage and recognise golfing talent along with promoting the sport of golf across Asia. The tournament has yielded many worthy champions over the last eight years and we look forward to yet another successful edition.”
Cho Minn Thant, Commissioner and CEO of the Asian Tour, said, “The Panasonic Open India is the longest standing Asian Tour event in India outside of the country’s National Open and we are very proud of our partnership with Panasonic. We’ve arguably one of the strongest fields at the Panasonic Open India and are looking forward to a very exciting week.”
Uttam Singh Mundy, CEO, PGTI, said, “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Panasonic through the staging of the 2019 edition of the Panasonic Open India. It is the committed support of sponsors such as Panasonic that has given Indian professional golf the much-needed boost.”