Kolkata: The inaugural Kolkata Classic Golf Championship is set to tee off at the historic Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) from March 22, 2016. The Kolkata Classic, the fourth event of the Professional Golf Tour of India’s (PGTI) 2016 season, carries a prize purse of Rs. 30 lakh. The tournament will be played from March 22 to 25 with the Pro-Am event scheduled for March 26.
With the launch of the Kolkata Classic, the sports-loving city of Kolkata is now set to host two PGTI events in the 2016 season, the other being the year-ending Tour Championship. The Kolkata Classic is being jointly-sponsored by Manyavar, Goodricke, Halmari, Century Ply, Supertech Engineering, Reliable Group, Duflating. We also have Aauris as the Official Hotel, Balaji Ads as the Outdoor Media Partner & Kingfisher as the Beverage Partner.
The tournament will bring together some of the top names of the Indian sub-continent. The leading Indian professionals would include the Kolkata trio of the newly crowned Indian Open champion SSP Chawrasia, 2014 Rolex Ranking champion Shankar Das and current Rolex Ranking leader Feroz Ali Mollah as well as Shubhankar Sharma, Mukesh Kumar, Shamim Khan, Khalin Joshi, Udayan Mane, Ajeetesh Sandhu and Abhijit Singh Chadha, to name a few. The foreign challenge will be led by the Sri Lankan trio of N Thangaraja, Anura Rohana and K Prabagaran.
SSP Chawrasia returns to his home course after his phenomenal Indian Open triumph in Delhi on Sunday which took him from 243 to 151 in the world rankings. Chawrasia, still basking in the glory of one of his biggest victories, said, “It always feels special to come back home after winning a title as all my friends and well-wishers get together at RCGC and discuss my performance. It’s fun reliving the whole experience with all of them. This is exactly what happened when I came to RCGC today morning.
“I’ve achieved a big milestone of qualifying for the Olympics and am quite excited about it. It’s an honour to be able to represent the country at Rio. Teaming up with my good friend Anirban is also something I’m looking forward to.
“I’m delighted to be back at my home course for the Kolkata Classic. I’d like to thank the tournament sponsors for helping us bring a second event to Kolkata after the Tour Championship. I want to support this event in order to promote professional golf in Kolkata which will also help in the further growth of the PGTI, a tour where I have played for many years. With the success of this event, hopefully Kolkata will get more such events in the future. The RCGC course is in top shape at the moment and I’m eager to giving my best this week as well.”
Rolex Ranking leader Feroz Ali Mollah will also be a contender at RCGC this week as he too returns to his home course. Feroz said, “This week gives me a good opportunity to build on my lead in the rankings. The strong field with SSP, Shankar, Shubhankar, Khalin and Udayan makes for a riveting contest.
“Driving will be the key to winning here. One will need to hit longer and straighter as the tees have been pushed back as compared to the last event in December. The addition of Kolkata Classic to the PGTI calendar would give fresh impetus to the sport in Kolkata.”
This is a 72-hole stroke-play tournament featuring a field of 119 players which would include 114 professionals and five amateurs. The cut will be applied after the first 36 holes. The top 50 players and ties will make the halfway cut and continue to play for another 36 holes.
Indian golfing great Lakshman Singh, a double gold medallist at the 1982 Asian Games, will also be playing the event as one of the five amateurs.
The venue for the tournament, the world-renowned Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC), is steeped in history, being the oldest golf club outside of the British Isles, having been established in 1829. It is widely regarded as the founder of the game in the country and has staged some of the most prestigious tournaments on Indian soil, including the Indian Open and the All India Amateur Championship. The 7237-yard course favours long hitters and inaccurate shots are punished severely. The large number of water hazards makes this course a real challenge to master.