By The Nation
The Classic Golf & Country Club International Championship 2019 will tee off at India’s first Jack Nicklaus Signature course, the Classic Golf & Country Club, on September 12 with a prize purse of US$ 300,000.
Since 2011, Asian Tour events in India have produced at least two homegrown winners each year, barring once in 2013, when there was just one winner. But in 2013, Indians also had a runner-up in another event and three Top-5 finishers in the third event.
Indian golfers, who have dominated home events will be strong favourites, with a band of very talented and young players. Leading the pack will be two stars, Viraj Madappa and Khalin Joshi, both from Bengaluru and who broke through on the region’s premier Tour last season with a win each in Bengaluru and Delhi. The field will also include another hugely talented Ajeetesh Sandhu, who won his first Asian Tour event in Taiwan in 2017.
Chikkarangappa S, who is considered one of the finest young talents in the country and has been a topper on the domestic pro circuit will be looking to etch his name on the newly instituted Trophy. He has won twice on the Asian Development Tour and has also represented India at the World Cup, but is still in search of his first Asian Tour win.
“I have come close many times, but not quite closed the deal. But now with the Classic Golf and Country International, I am hoping the home atmosphere will help me get past the line,” said Chikka.
Two-time Asian Tour winner, Rashid Khan, who has, however not won since 2014, will also be in the field as will be Chiragh Kumar, also a winner on the Asian Tour. A new bunch of rookie pros like Aadil Bedi will also be looking at a breakthrough win.
The field at Classic Golf & Country Club International Championship 2019 represents the international nature of the Asian Tour. Players from South Africa, Australia, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan and Argentina are taking part in the event, making it a truly global tournament with representation from more than 20 countries.
The tournament also features recent winners such as Miguel Carballo of Argentina, who is fresh from his win at Indonesia Open; Taehee Lee (Korea) and Malcolm Kokocinski (Sweden).
The entry list includes former Asia No. 1 Jyoti Randhawa and multiple Asian Tour winner, Mardan Mamat.
The field also includes two amateurs, Harshjeet Sethie and Kartik Sharma, who will be representing India at the prestigious Nomura Cup later; as well as Saurav Rathi who will be turning professional in this event.
A full field of 156 players will tee up and as usual Indians will hold centre stage at a course which is very popular with the stars. The course has been a host to numerous Asian Tour events and also premier PGTI events besides top amateur and junior events.
Though entries are still coming and the date for final entry list is not over, players from more than 20 countries are expected to be seen in action.