Perera aims to turn season around at Panasonic Open India

golf icon isn 2New Delhi: Sri Lanka’s Mithun Perera hopes to turn the corner at the US$400,000 Panasonic Open India which gets underway from December 1 to 4.

The 29-year-old Perera has endured a lacklustre season, making only six cuts in 17 starts on the region’s premier Tour, where he sits in 112th position on the Order of Merit.

With the Panasonic Open India being the penultimate event of the 2016 season, Perera will have everything to play for when he returns to the venerable Delhi Golf Club, a course where he has enjoyed good results in the past.

Perera will feature in the Panasonic Open India alongside a host of Asian Tour champions, including Thai veteran Thaworn Wiratchant, who finished joint runner-up last year, as well as Singapore’s Mardan Mamat, Thailand’s Poom Saksansin and Steve Lewton of England.

S.S.P. Chawrasia, winner of the event in 2014, will spearhead the home charge alongside Gaganjeet Bhullar, Arjun Atwal, Rashid Khan, Chikkarangappa S. and defending champion Chiragh Kumar.

The stocky Perera hopes to take advantage of his accuracy off the tees to chase for a maiden Asian Tour victory at the Panasonic Open India, where he has finished inside top-five in the last two editions.

He settled for joint second place in 2014 alongside India’s Rahil Gangjee after losing in a play-off to home favourite S.S.P. Chawrasia.

“I came close to winning on that course before so I have good feelings about that course. My driving accuracy has always been good. I have no doubt about that. I believe it will be an advantage for me as accuracy is important on that course,” said the bubbly Perera.

Perera was the most accurate player off the tee on the Asian Tour with an accuracy of 78.95% in 2015. He leads the category again with a current strike rate of 81.97%.

Perera needs a victory at the Panasonic Open India to secure his playing rights for the 2017 season. Only a win will free him of Tour card worries when he heads to the season-ending UBS Hong Kong Open in the following week.

“I need to win the event to keep my card for next year. It’s going to be a very important week for me. There is going to be a bit of pressure but I am confident I can still do something to save my card.

“The game is pretty good at the moment. I am just waiting to cap one good week. I need to stay patient for it,” added Perera, son of Nandasena, a famous name on the old Asian circuit during the 1980s and 1990s.