New Delhi: European Ryder Cup team member, Edoardo Molinari will team up with defending champion Rikard Karlberg as they battle it out against the Indian duo Shiv Kapur and SSP Chowrasia in an unique Hero Skills Challenge at the Delhi Golf Club. The Skills Challenge is one of the activities that precede the 48th Hero Indian Open beginning on Thursday, October 13.
The four will clash as teams of two in a contest billed as 'Hero versus Rest of the World Skills Challenge'. The contest begins at 12.30 pm at the Delhi Golf Club.
The four players will pit their skills against each other in:
1. Longest drive, back down 18th hole.
2. 150m approach shot to 18th green (nearest-the-pin or most holed).
3. 75m pitch shot to 18th green (nearest-the-pin or most holed).
4. Sand shot to 18th green (nearest-the-pin or most holed).
5. 20m long putt on 18th green (nearest-the-pin or most holed).
Molinari, the World No. 53, is the highest ranked player in the field. A two-time European tour winner, he also won the 2009 World Cup with his brother Francesco Molinari and was also a key member of the European team that won the Ryder Cup last year.
Karlberg, who broke through for his maiden win on the Asian Tour at the SAIL Open at the Delhi Golf Club, followed it up with the Hero Indian Open title later in the year.
Chowrasia, too, has happy memories of the Delhi Golf Club, with his maiden Asian Tour win, the Emaar Masters – a co-sanctioned event with European Tour – came at this very course in 2008. Chowrasia has since added a second Asian Tour title, again co-sanctioned with European Tour, earlier this year at the Avantha Masters.
Kapur, an Asian Games gold medallist from 2002, has matured into one of the India’s top professionals, who has now been a regular on the Asian and European Tours for more than six years. Kapur won the Volvo Masters of Asia in his rookie year in 2005, and the Delhi Golf Club is his home course.
The four-day main event, the Hero Indian Open, begins on Thursday with about 144 players, including professionals from all over Asia and few from Europe and United States.
India’s other star challengers will include the seasoned three-time Indian Open winner and Asian Tour No. 1 in 2002, Jyoti Randhawa, two-time European Tour winner, SSP Chowrasia and former Asian Tour Rookie of the Year 2005, Shiv Kapur.
The Indian challenge also includes the growing “Youth Brigade of Indian golf”, led by Gaganjeet Bhullar, a two-time Asian Tour winner, Anirban Lahiri and Himmat Rai, who broke through with their first Asian Tour win this year. Besides them there is also Rashid Khan, who has been doing very well on the Indian Tour.
While World No. 53 Edoardo Molinari, a member of the Ryder Cup winning team and also a World Cup winner will headline the international starcast. Also expected to contend and be in the thick of action are Thaworn Wiratchant, who has 12 Asian Tour titles against his name, defending champion, Rikard Karlberg of Sweden, and Jbe Kruger among others.
The Hero Indian Open golf is India’s oldest-running sports event comes at a time when Indian golf is at its strongest. The event is the richest full-field event on the Asian Tour carrying a prize purse of US$ 1.25 million.