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Atwal to lead strong Indian challenge

other Updated: Mar 04, 2010 00:24 IST

Arjun Atwal, twice champion at the Malaysian Open will lead one of the strongest Indian challenges outside India in a co-sanctioned event at the Maybank Malaysian Open title starting on Thursday. Atwal, winner at Malaysian Open in 2003 and 2008, will be looking forward to adding a third Malaysian Open to his kitty.

The event co-sanctioned by European and Asian Tours will have as many as 10 Indian, signalling the growing strength of Indian golf in the region and world.

This does not include Jeev Milkha Singh, who is playing on the US Tour.

Besides Atwal, there will be Jyoti Randhawa, Chinnaswamy Muniyappa and Gaganjeet Bhullar, all of whom won once each on Asian Tour in 2009.

The Indian contingent also includes past Asian Tour winners in SSP Chowrasia, who won a co-sanctioned event in 2008, Shiv Kapur and Rahil Gangjee. Anirban Lahiri, Himmat Rai and Digvijay Singh complete the squad of 10 from India.

"I always feel good coming to Malaysia. This is where I have won twice and so it gives me a lot of confidence when I tee up here," said Atwal, who won the event at the Kota Permai and Mines Resort courses in the past.

With the event now being held at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Cup, it will be a great win for Atwal should he manage that again.

Also looking for a third title in Malaysian Open is Thai star Thongchai Jaidee, hoping to carry his rich vein of form. The reigning Asian Tour number one is relishing a return to the tournament which shot him to fame with victories in 2004 and 2005 and he will chase a third victory against defending champion Anthony Kang of the United States, Asian Tour honorary member K.J. Choi of Korea, Australian Andrew Dodt and former Ryder Cup star Darren Clarke of Ireland.