Bengaluru: The Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) will hold the second event of its landmark 10th season, the PGTI Players Championship presented by Eagleton – The Golf Resort, from February 16 - 19, 2016. The tournament carries a prize purse of Rs. 30 lakh.
The field will be highlighted by some of India’s rising stars such as local lads Chikkarangappa (2015 Rolex Ranking champion), Udayan Mane (2015 PGTI Emerging Player), Khalin Joshi as well as Gurgaon-based Shubhankar Sharma. All four youngsters will be playing their first PGTI event of the season.
The other top names in the field are current Rolex Ranking leader Feroz Ali Mollah, Mukesh Kumar, Shankar Das, Shamim Khan and Vikrant Chopra (joint 2nd in the Rolex Ranking), to name a few.
Bengaluru will be well-represented by M Dharma (joint 2nd in Rolex Ranking), C Muniyappa (former Indian Open champion), Abhishek Jha, R Murthy and Trishul Chinnappa besides the likes of Chikka, Mane and Joshi.
The field will also feature prominent foreign names such as N Thangaraja (Sri Lanka), Anura Rohana (Sri Lanka) and K Prabagaran (Sri Lanka).
The four rookies making their professional debut at Eagleton are Ankur Chadha from Gurgaon, Ashish Kumar Gupta from Lucknow, Rishiraj Singh Saini from Panchkula and Vashista S Pawar from Coimbatore.
Chetan Meda, Director, Eagleton – The Golf Resort, said, “We welcome all players to the PGTI Players Championship presented by Eagleton – The Golf Resort. Eagleton – The Golf Resort has nurtured Indian golfing talent for more than two decades and produced professionals such as Anirban Lahiri and Chikkarangappa who have gone on to win laurels for the country. We seek to continue playing an active role in promoting professional golf in the country through the staging of events such as the PGTI Players Championship.”
Uttam Singh Mundy, Director, PGTI, said, “The return of the PGTI Players Championship to Eagleton – The Golf Resort bears testament to PGTI and Eagleton’s shared vision of growing Indian professional golf. Eagleton’s sustained efforts to promote the sport have thrown up some world-class talent such as Anirban Lahiri and Chikkarangappa. We seek to continue working with Eagleton by staging tournaments that create a platform to churn out more champions for the future.”
Chikkarangappa, who won PGTI’s last event at Eagleton, the TAKE Solutions India Masters 2015, will undoubtedly be the pre-tournament favourite once again. He is also fresh from his best-ever Asian Tour finish of tied fourth which was achieved at the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open last week.
The 22-year-old Chikka said, “It’s always special to come back and play on my home turf at Eagleton. I have a lot of good memories here. I’ve been in good form of late. I was pleased to achieve my target of winning the Rolex Ranking last year. The Asian Tour result last week provided me with the ideal start to the season.
“We’ve never really played at Eagleton at this time of the year. The wind will play an even greater role in the current weather conditions. The greens are soft and nice. If you putt well you can go really deep. I think the healthy competition between Shubhankar and me at the moment is good for both of us. We are both pushing each other to do better and taking our games to a higher level.”
Shubhankar Sharma, a rookie on the Asian Tour, will be another name to reckon with this week. Shubhankar, like Chikka, too posted his career-best result, a third place finish, on the Asian Tour last week. The 19-year-old, who lost in a playoff to Chikka at the same venue at the TAKE Solutions India Masters few months back, will be looking to set the record straight this time around.
Shubhankar said, “I’m quite satisfied with my start to the season. I achieved an important goal of mine by earning the Asian Tour card. I also battled hard in Dhaka last week to finish inside the top-3. I feel I’m now pretty comfortable playing in Asia and can perform well on a consistent basis there.
“Chikka will once again be the guy to beat here at Eagleton. He’s always in contention on his home ground. I think the toughest stretch of the course this week is from the second to the sixth. It’s a stretch were bad shots can pay a heavy price. Even if you are one or two under for those holes, it’s a good start.”