Defending champion Jyoti Randhawa would look to go beyond the “threepeat" when the Hero Honda Indian Open tees off at the Delhi Golf Club on October 9. Currently placed alongside Aussie great Peter Thomson as the duo to have won the event thrice, Randhawa, who won the last two editions following the triumph in 2000, will look to attach another first to his name by adding this year's trophy to the mantelpiece.
Given the 36-year-old's penchant for DGC's undulating fairways and deep bunkers, the possibility seems real but the threat from Daniel Chopra, Mark Brown, Liang Wen-Chong and countrymen Arjun Atwal and S.S.P. Chowrasia, can in no way be discounted.
Chopra, bolstered by his twin successes in the US PGA Tour — this year's Mercedes-Benz Championship, Hawaii, and last year's Ginn sur Mer Classic — will be reappearing after 2001 and would be certainly eyeing the top prize of $158,500. It will be for the first time that an Asian Tour will be carrying a purse of US$ 1 million in India. After his triumphs in the SAIL Open and Johnnie Walker Classic earlier this year, Brown, currently ranked No. 1 by the Asian tour, had declared his affinity for India and the New Zealander would look to extend his love affair with the country.
Liang became the first Chinese player to win the Asian Tour's Order of Merit last season following eight top-10 finishes, including the Singapore Masters crown. This exciting talent can be trusted to leave his mark during the event.
On the home front, the Florida-based Atwal, currently displaying his craft on the Nationwide Tour, and Chowrasia have confirmed their entries. The latter came from nowhere to win the Indian Masters here in February and the result would encourage the Royal Calcutta Golf Club player as he comes after a none-too-impressive stint in Europe.
However, doubts linger on Jeev Milkha Singh's attendance. After his historic joint ninth finish in the US PGA Championship last month, Jeev had taken a four-week break to recover from”an inflamed tendon" in the right ankle. Though the injury has not healed, Jeev is back for this week's Mercedes Benz event. Apart from the injury concern, Jeev had told HT earlier that his participation was “uncertain” due to “engagements” with his sponsor, Jumeirah Golf Estates, in Doha.