The European Tour heads to India this week for the Avantha Masters at the Jaypee Greens Golf Club in Delhi. Jbe Kruger of South Africa is the defending champion.

This will be the fifth running of the tournament that began life back in 2008 as the EMAAR-MGF Indian Masters. That event was won by home player S.S.P Chowrasia and he took the title again in 2011.

Last season it was South Africa’s Jbe Kruger who came out on top at the DLF Golf and Country Club. The diminutive 26-year-old held off the challenge of Spain’s Jorge Campillo and Marcel Siem of Germany to scoop the €300,000 first prize.

There’s a new venue for this year’s tournament. The Greg Norman-designed course at Jaypee Greens Golf Club is the longest track in India. It’s the only course in the country designed by the Great White Shark.

A good field has assembled to do battle for this year’s Avantha Masters. A selection of the European and Asian Tours’ finest players are on the entry list. 50 of the 156 men on the start sheet have tasted victory on the European Tour and 38 have secured titles on the Asian Tour.

There will be a strong Indian representation. Former champion S.S.P Chowrasia will be joined by four-time European Tour winner Jeev Milkha Singh and Shiv Kapur, who won last month on the Challenge Tour. There are also numerous other up-and-coming Indian players on the start-sheet who’ll be looking to make the breakthrough at the highest level.

Many of the European Tour’s star names have also made the journey to India. Colin Montgomerie makes a start together with Edoardo Molinari, David Howell, Niclas Fasth and Thomas Levet.

Spain’s Alvaro Quiros makes a welcome return to action following an injury-enforced layoff. The length of this course should suit his power-hitting.

Jaypee Greens GC, Greater Noida, Delhi, India
Date: Mar 14-17
Course stats: par 72, 7,347 yards
Purse: €1,800,000 Winner: €300,000
Defending Champion: Jbe Kruger (-14)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 14 – Sky Sports 3 from 2am
Friday 15 – Sky Sports 3 from 2am
Saturday 16 – Sky Sports 3 from 2am
Sunday 17 – Sky Sports 3 from 2am

Player Watch:
Ricardo Santos – One of the most consistent performers so far on this year’s European Tour, Santos has been seventh, third and ninth in his last three starts on the circuit. He won last year’s Madeira Islands Open and is overdue another title.

David Howell – He hasn’t missed a cut on the 2013 European Tour to this point. He was tied 10th in the Tshwane Open and would have finished higher had it not been for a slightly disappointing closing round. He’s a quality player and has been out of the winner’s enclosure for far too long.

Kristoffer Broberg – The Swede hasn’t done too much since finishing second in the Alfred Dunhill Championship. But he played four solid rounds at the Tshwane Open and clearly has the talent to mix it with the best. This could be a good opportunity for the 26-year-old to make his mark.

Key hole: 9th. At 461 yards it’s one of the longest par 4s on the course. It’s also one of the most strategically demanding. Water lurks all along the right side of the fairway, threatening for both drive and approach. The green is large and heavily contoured.

Where next?
PGA Tour –
Tampa Bay Championship preview