The European Tour heads for New Delhi this week and the Hero Indian Open. It’s the third time the event has featured on the circuit and S.S.P Chawrasia is defending champion.

A strong field has assembled in New Delhi this week for the Hero Indian Open. The first two editions of the tournament, when it has been part of the European Tour, have been won by home players – Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P Chawrasia but a truly international cast list will be looking to prevent an Indian hat-trick.

Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello is on the start sheet as is Thai player Kiradech Aphibarnrat. Last week’s Thswane Open winner Dean Burmester will tee it up, together with recent winner Brett Rumford, Belgian bomber Nicolas Colsaerts and Spaniards Jorge Campillo and Nacho Elvira.

Ryder Cup star Cabrera Bello is looking forward to the event. He played last week in the WGC-Mexico Championship finishing in a tie for 38th.

“It is going to be a long flight from Mexico to India, but I am looking forward to it,” he said. “Modestly, I am going to say that I have good results all over world also, so why not in Asia? Sometimes I find it difficult to adapt to the greens. I particularly like softer grass, but I enjoy the challenge of playing on all surfaces, that makes you a better player and that is also one my goals.”

The event is being played over a new course this year – the Gary Player layout at the DLF Golf and Country Club. It’s a great championship track with some memorable holes. The 5th is a par-3 with an island green and the run for home is played around a quarry with a large lake threatening to gather errant shots. Water is a feature on seven holes.

The Indian Open was first played in 1964 at the Delhi Golf Club when Peter Thomson was the champion. Since then some famous names appear on the list of winners. Graham Marsh was twice champion, Payne Stewart won in 1981, Thongchai Jaidee and Arjun Atwal took the title and Jyoti Randhawa has been the winner three times.

Last year S.S.P Chawrasia took the title at Delhi Golf Club, displaying his skill and knowledge of the course to finish two clear of his fellow Indian Anirban Lahiri and Jeunghun Wang of South Korea.

The weather forecast looks mixed with thunderstorms a threat on Friday and Saturday. There could well be disruption to the play.

Venue: DLF G&CC, New Delhi, India
Date: Mar 9-12
Course stats: par 72, 7,657 yards
Purse: €1,645,000
Defending Champion: S.S.P Chawrasia (-15)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 9– Sky Sports 4 from 5.30am
Friday 10 – Sky Sports 4 from 5.30am
Saturday 11 – Sky Sports 4 from 7.30am
Sunday 12 – Sky Sports 4 from 7am

Player watch:
Anirban Lahiri – Already a winner of this event, Lahiri is on decent form following a top-20 in Dubai and top-10 in Malaysia. He will raise his game for his home championship.

Jorge Campillo – The Spaniard was tied second last week in South Africa and will look to continue that good play this week.

Paul Dunne – The Irishman has enjoyed a steady start to 2017 with only one missed cut in his last eight starts. He was tied sixth last week and closed with rounds of 65 and 66.

Paul Dunne swing sequence:

Key hole: 18th. It’s a brilliant par-5 of over 600 yards where placement will be key. The drive is over a ravine to a relatively generous landing area and then it’s time to make a decision. Most will opt to lay up by playing around the edge of the large lake. But, with the wind helping, the carry to the green might be on. It’s all or nothing though, anything poorly struck will end up wet.