Bengaluru, August 8: The Karnataka Golf Association is all set to witness a strong Indian field and more importantly a strong local challenge at the upcoming Take Solutions Masters, which will kick off here on Thursday (August 9).
The four-day tournament which returns to the KGA for its second edition will be spearheaded by local boy and last-year’s runner-up Khalin Joshi, along with Bengaluru lad Udayan Mane and S Chikkarangappa.
⭐ 156 players— Asian Tour (@asiantourgolf) August 8, 2018
⭐ 21 nationalities
⭐ Highest-ranked player: Scott Vincent 🇿🇼
⭐ Home course advantage 👉 @KhalinJoshi 🇮🇳
All you need to know about this week's @TSMastersgolf.#TSMastersgolf #whereitsAT pic.twitter.com/ElIG4a3eRK
Last year’s winner, Poom Saksansin of Thailand, will also return to the KGA to defend his title. Meanwhile, Scott Vincent, Zimbabwe’s only player on the tour, is the highest-ranked player of the tournament. Currently Vincent is placed 10th on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Order of Merit.
While the local flavour of the tournament is strong and the crowd will have a lot to cheer about, they will also get to witness Asia’s top stars vying for the honours. The field of 156 players, consist of over twenty-five past Asian Tour winners this year. Moreover, apart from the increased prize money of USD 350,000 (which has increased by USD 50,000 from the previous edition), the tournament will also carry Official World Golf Ranking points.
Local favourite Khalin Joshi will be one to watch out for as the Bengaluru boy, who lost out on the title by two-strokes last year, returns to the challenging course to try and win his maiden Asian Tour title. Joshi who grabbed everyone’s attention with a superb fifth place finish at the Maybank Championships, will hope to bank on home advantage to win the title in front of his home crowd.
Homegrown talent @KhalinJoshi tackles the 14th hole on his home course ⛳— Asian Tour (@asiantourgolf) August 8, 2018
Will he go one rung better to claim his first Asian Tour title this week?@TSMastersgolf #TSMastersgolf #whereitsAT pic.twitter.com/R7kK0tGVt0
Speaking ahead of the opening round of the tournament, Joshi said, “Last six years I’ve been struggling to keep my card on the Asian Tour. But this year I’ve already secured my card. So coming into this tournament this week gives me a lot confidence and it eases a lot of pressure. Last year when I was here I was struggling to keep my card. But this year I don’t have that pressure.
“This week is going to be tough because it’s my home tournament and though I’ve played here multiple times, it’s not going to be a walk in the park. All of us are in good form. I have great memories of KGA, which is my home course and the one that stands out the most is my last amateur event here. I shot a course record 62. That’s one of the fondest memories I have out here. Hopefully I can repeat that again this week or make it even better. Come Sunday I hope to be a champion here,” signed off a confident Khalin.
Meanwhile the highest-ranked player in the field, Scott, has been in superb form, notching up four top-ten finishes from five events in the last couple of months. And that surely makes him one of the favourites. Speaking on the eve of the event, Scott said, “It has been a really good start. You come here and plan to do well. But that doesn’t happen always. Am still trying to get over the hump of the first win. But it has been a very good year and I would like to continue to play well. I have been on the course and its a challenging course. It’s not going to be easy and the field is also very strong. But I hope I continue playing well.”
Meanwhile another localite, Udayan Mane will also be a strong contender on the field. Mane, who is coming off a series of good finishes on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), with a couple of top-15s under his belt, will be a player to watch out for. Another localite, S Chikkarangappa who has been successful on this course, will look to capitalist on his home ground and come up with a winning performance.
Amongst the seasoned pros, six-time Asian Tour winner, SSP Chawrasia, who has not had a good start to the season, will look to turn his game around in this event. While youngsters like Honey Baisoya and Viraj Madappa, will hope to notch up a decent finish, seasoned pros Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa will also be seen in action this week.
Also the event, which is co-sanctioned by Asian Tour and the Professional Golf Tour (PGTI) of India, will see three members of the Asian Tour team in action this week, including Aadil Bedi, Harimohan Singh and Rayhan Thomas.