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  Tough challenge awaits field at Indian Open

Tough challenge awaits field at Indian Open

| PRIYANKA SHARMA
Published : Mar 17, 2016, 2:40 am IST
Updated : Mar 17, 2016, 2:40 am IST

An array of stars, including three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington and defending champion Anirban Lahiri, await the challenges the Delhi Golf Club course is set to pose when the 52nd edition of t

Anirban Lahiri
 Anirban Lahiri

An array of stars, including three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington and defending champion Anirban Lahiri, await the challenges the Delhi Golf Club course is set to pose when the 52nd edition of the $1.66 million Hero Indian Open gets under way here on Thursday.

The stalwarts will headline a strong field this week which also has the likes of home favourite Jeev Milkha Singh, a two-time Asian Tour number one, in-form Australian Scott Hend, who won in Thailand last week, USA’s Peter Uihlein, who has three top-10 results in his last three events, and current Order of Merit leader Marcus Fraser of Australia.

 

Other stars to watch out for in the Asian and European Tour-sanctioned event are rising Filipino star Miguel Tabuena and Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, the 2013 Hero Indian Open winner among others.

The Indian line-up also includes former PGA Tour winner Arjun Atwal, S.S.P. Chawrasia, a four-time runner-up at the event, Shiv Kapur, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Rashid Khan, Rahil Gangjee, Himmat Rai and Chiragh Kumar.

While Lahiri believes he had found the winning formula at the venerable course, Harrington is looking for a ‘memorable’ return to the country after 1992 — he had then lost in the semi-finals of the All India Amateur Mathchplay in Kolkata.

 

Lahiri, who has captured four titles at the venue, says he will stick to his routine at the tricky course. “Over the years if you have a strategy at DGC, you don’t mess with it. It is hard enough playing here so you stick with it. I won’t reinvent a new strategy because my plan works. I just need to execute it better and more efficiently,” said the 28-year-old, who will not have his driver in the bag.

Like Lahiri, most of the players this week will opt to jettison their driver — the course favours straight hitters. Harrington, however, believes: “If I need to make eagle on the last hole then I will be hitting driver. I’ve got to have that club in my bag and that option if I’m chasing with nine holes to go.

 

“I played nine holes and I really liked what I saw. It is in great condition. It is difficult off the tees. A lot of intimidating factor off the tees but the goal is conservative off the tees and aggressive attacking the greens.

“I’m looking to be in contention. The goal is to have a chance and feel the pressure on Sunday,” the Irishman said.

Meanwhile, Jeev — fresh from his tied seventh place at the True Thailand Classic — is happy to finally regain form after his title win at the Scottish Open in 2012. He now aims to repeat the cycle which had brought him four titles between 2006 and 2008 across the Asian, European and Japan Tours.

 

“I have been playing at the DGC since I was nine years old. Though I have not won here, I look forward to changing that.”

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi