The European Tour heads to India this week for the third running of the Avantha Masters at DLF Golf & Country Club. Defending champion S.S.P Chowrasia is looking for a hat-trick of European Tour victories in his home country.
Chowrasia claimed his maiden European Tour title in the Indian Masters of 2008, played at the Delhi Golf Club. He then picked up a second title in his homeland when he narrowly beat England’s Robert Coles to win the 2010 Avantha Masters.
Chowrasia is confident of another good showing this time out.
“I’ve been practising hard and I’m feeling really good,” he said. “Last year was amazing to win in front of the home fans and great for Indian golf and Indian players. I was so happy. Golf in India is growing – cricket is number one but golf is the next fastest growing sport – and I hope my victory inspires more people to play… To win again and make it three times in Delhi would be unbelievable.”
With many of the European Tour’s best absent from this event as they complete preparations for next week’s Accenture Matchplay, this tournament provides a chance for one of the circuit’s lesser lights to shine. Indeed it offers an opportunity for players from either the Asian Tour or an upcoming star from India to hit the big time.
Designed by Arnold Palmer Course Design, the layout at DLF G&CC was opened for play in 1999. It’s an undulating and tree-lined course with water a factor on seven of the 18 holes. The course is constructed in an area of environmental interest and the course is home to a wide variety of different birds including Golden Eagles.
Venue: DLF G&CC, New Delhi, India
Date: Feb 16-19
Course stats: par 72, 7,156 yards
Purse: €1,800,000 Winner: €300,000
Defending Champion: S.S.P. Chowrasia (-15)
Thursday 16 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 8am
Friday 17 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 8am
Saturday 18 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 6.30am
Sunday 19 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 6.30am
Joost Luiten – The talented young Dutchman enjoyed a solid if unspectacular run in the Middle East. But he has a good record when the European Tour heads to Asia – his victory in last November’s Iskandar Johor Open is evidence of that.
Richard Sterne – The South African is playing on a medical extension having missed almost all of 2011 through injury. He is showing signs of returning to form. He started promisingly last week in Dubai and only faded slightly over the weekend.
Scott Jamieson – The Scot was 12th in Qatar then fifth last week in Dubai. If he can maintain that form this week he should contend again.
Key hole: 18th. A par 5 of 537 yards, this is a classic risk and reward finishing hole. Water short of the green means a decision must be made as to whether to go for it in two shots. The hole has the potential to witness eagles and double bogeys so there could be swings at the top of the leaderboard right at the death.
Skills required: Putting. The course features some severely sloping greens and a deft touch on the putting surfaces will be essential to success here.
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