Randhawa, Khalin set to tee off at the inaugural Bengaluru Open

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From left: Jyoti Randhawa, Sandeep Madhavan, President, KGA, Shri Priyank Kharge, Honourable Minister for IT, BT & Tourism, Govt. of Karnataka, Gaurav Gupta, Principal Secretary - IT, BT & Tourism, Govt. of Karnataka, Uttam Singh Mundy, CEO, PGTI and Rahil Gangjee unveil the trophy of the inaugural Bengaluru Open Golf Championship

Bengaluru, November 14: The Garden City has emerged as the golfing hub of the country. With the city churning out top golfers like Anirban Lahiri and Aditi Ashok among many others, Bengaluru has become one of the most sought after cities in the country for the golfing community. And in a boost to the game, a new event, the Bengaluru Open Golf Championship, has been added to the PGTI calendar.

The inaugural edition of the Bengaluru Open will kick off at the Karnataka Golf Association from November 15. The Rs. 1 crore event will see a total of 126 golfers, boasting of a strong local flavour. With the countries top golfers vying for the top honours, the leaderboard is sure to witness a topsy-turvy four days.

The tournament which is the 14th event of the PGTI season is a Karnataka Tourism initiative to promote Golf Tourism in the state of Karnataka.

Unveiling the trophy at the KGA Mr. Priyank Kharge, Minister of IT, BT, Science & Technology, Tourism, Government of Karnataka, said, “It gives me extreme pleasure in launching the inaugural Bengaluru Open Golf Championship sponsored by Karnataka Tourism. The tournament is part of our long-term objective to promote Golf Tourism in Karnataka and further elevate the state’s reputation as an attractive golfing destination for foreign and domestic tourists alike. The event also serves as an excellent platform to showcase one of India’s top golfing venues, the magnificent Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) course which has hosted multiple international events.

“Karnataka has produced some of the best golfers in the country in recent times including the likes of Anirban Lahiri, currently India’s highest-ranked golfer in the world. We are confident that the staging of the Bengaluru Open Golf Championship will encourage more youngsters in the state to take up the sport. We look forward to an enduring partnership with the PGTI in order to grow the sport in Karnataka.”

Leading the charge will be seasoned pro Jyoti Randhawa, along with local favourite Khalin Joshi. Apart from Joshi, the local charge will be led by Udayan Mane, seasoned pro Rahil Gangjee, along with S Chikkarangappa and Chiragh Kumar.

While the crowd will be rooting for local lad Khalin, Randhawa will be the one to watch out for. Randhawa almost broke his title drought last week, raising hopes of his first Asian Tour win since 2009, with a win at the Manila Masters, but the Indian slipped on the final day to finish tied fifth.

The 45-year-old, who finished a creditable sixth at the Take Open Golf Championship last month, will be itching to lay hands on the trophy when he tees off at the KGA on Thursday (November 15).

On the other hand Khalin will be looking to capitalise on the advantage of playing on his home course. With some commendable performances on this course, Joshi heads into the tournament as one of the strong contenders. Returning to his home course after almost two months Joshi is determined to set the tone of things for the very first day.

“It feels good to be back. I’ve not been in Bangalore for the past two months. The golf course is in great shape. I am looking forward to playing tomorrow. I want to get going from the start and turn in a low number from tom only.

“It’s going to be a low scoring week as the roughs are not very thick. It will be easier than when we played back in August. It’s going to be a putting contest this week. I’ve been playing well and have been working on a few things. Also I will work on my game this week with my coach,” said Joshi, who has six top ten finishes but no title this year as yet, something the Bengaluru golfer would look to change this week.

Another local pro who is set to ply his trade this week, is localite Udayan Mane. Mane has had an ideal season and the Karnataka lad would look to pick up his third title of the season. Mane would also have the home advantage as he would aim to go on top of the PGTI Order of Merit List. Currently the Bengaluru golfer lies second on the list behind Shamim Khan.

Meanwhile, Chikka, will be looking to put behind a miserable last week, where the Karnataka golfer missed the cut in Manila. Chikka, who has had a disappointing year, would look to get his game back on track at his home course.

The foreign charge will be led by Sri Lanka’s Anura Rohana, along with compatriots Mithun Perera, N Thangaraja and K Prabagaran. Also in the fray will be South Africa’s Damian Naicker, Kunal Bhasin from Australia and Arthur Horne.

Speaking ahead of the tournament Rohana who has one win on the tour this year said he would want to finish the year ranked in the top five. “The course is nice and the greens are really good. Moreover I’m playing really well. I have played here several times and the course is the same. I think the winning score here would be under-17. Last year I finished in the top ten and this year I am to finish in top five,” said the Sri Lankan pro.

Story first published: Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 22:11 [IST]
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