Noida: The inaugural TAKE Solutions Classic marks the beginning of the second half of PGTI’s landmark 10th season. A lot will be at stake as the Noida Golf Course plays host to its most lucrative PGTI event till date.
The Rs. 50 lakh event has attracted some of the biggest names and rising stars of Indian professional golf such as Chikkarangappa S, Khalin Joshi, Shubhankar Sharma and Rashid Khan.
Chikkarangappa, the reigning Rolex Ranking champion who posted a tied 15th finish on the Asian Tour last week, is eager to make an impact on the PGTI this year as well.
“I’ve had a couple of good results on the Asian Tour this season including a top-5 in Bangladesh. I’ve also regularly been in contention on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) which has boosted my confidence to a great extent. I’m now keen to get in the mix on my home tour, the PGTI, as well.
“I’ve played just one event on the PGTI this year. But since I’m looking to play about six to seven events in the second half, I believe, I will have a good chance of defending my Rolex Ranking crown if I play to my potential,” said Chikka, who bagged three trophies on the PGTI last year.
The 22-year-old Bengaluru lad is expecting a fascinating contest at Noida thanks to the challenging course conditions.
“The course is looking good. However, it won’t be easy out there as a lot of players including myself have never played this course during this time of the year when the rain comes into play.”
He added, “The TAKE Solutions Classic is all the more special for me since I’m part of the TAKE family. For all of us associated with TAKE, such as Khalin, Shubhankar and myself, it is like our own event.
Khalin Joshi had a fabulous start to the year with three top-6 results on the PGTI. However, thereafter, Khalin’s not enjoyed much success in Asia. He feels he can turn it around by kick-starting his second half of 2016 with a good performance in Noida.
Joshi said, “The year’s not been great for me so far. But I played well in my last two events on the ADT. I’ll look to get back into my rhythm this week so that I can carry forward the momentum into the coming weeks.
“This tournament is a great initiative by Mr. HR Srinivasan. We need more people like him to come forward to help further build on the gains made by Indian professional golf in recent years.”
The current Rolex Ranking leader Shubhankar Sharma will look to capitalize on his terrific start to the season having already captured two titles on the PGTI in the first half of 2016.
Shubhankar, who is also an Asian Tour regular like Chikkarangappa, said, “My season so far has been up and down. I’ve done well on the PGTI and also had a top-3 finish each on the Asian Tour and the ADT in the first half of the year. But since then I’ve not performed as per my expectations. I’ve missed a couple of cuts on the Asian Tour and that’s been disappointing.
“Nonetheless, I’m feeling good about my game at the moment. The Noida Golf Course is playing a little different this time around due to the rainy conditions. One will need to hit longer clubs getting into the greens so it will be a good challenge.
He added, “TAKE has been playing a major role in raising the stature of Indian golf through its sponsorship of professionals and prize money events. I’m very excited to be playing the inaugural TAKE Solutions Classic.”