Bangalore: Bangalore's star International golfers S. Chikkarangappa and Khalin Joshi who turned professional at the beginning of this year, will hog the limelight as special invitees when they kick off the 5th edition of Toyota Karnataka golf festival (TKGF) at Karnataka Golf Association on Thursday. The festival will also see top amateurs like Junior champion Syed Saqib Ahmed and Anisha Padukone in the field of around 450 golfers from Bangalore, Pune, Mysore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Delhi at the KGA course, which is rated one of the top-ten golf courses in the Asia-Pacific region.
Legendary cricketers GR Vishwanath, Erapalli Prasanna, Syed Kirmani alongside former hockey international star Ashish Ballal and tennis star Rohan Bopanna will take a swing during the four day tournament. Over 450 other golfers will be fighting to get one of the five spots in five different categories (0-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21-24) to represent Indian amateur golfers at the annual World Golfers' Championships to be held at Durban, South Africa from October 26th to November 3rd, 2013. The tournament will be played in the Stableford format.
Looking forward to this week's TKGF, Chikka said, "It will be my third year at this festival and I'm really happy to be invited by Toyota. It's an exciting concept where both a scratch handicap youngster my age or a 40 or 50 year old club level player can get a chance to play at an international tournament like WGC as part of a team. It's also good to see the Karnataka State tourism department getting involved in a tournament like this."
Extending a challenge to all the participants, will be Chandigarh based pro golfer and Arjuna Awardee Harmeet Kahlon who will be playing at Hole No.1 on Day Three of the Festival, with each group in the 'Beat the Pro Camry Hybrid Straightest Drive Challenge' which is an added attraction to the Toyota Karnataka Golf Festival as a celebration of its fifth consecutive edition.
Over the last five years, there have been some noteworthy performances including Sumit Rathore, former KGA Captain who won his handicap category in 2009 at the WGC in Spain and Utpal Dutt in 2010 when he finished 2nd in his category.
With support from The Department of Tourism, Government of Karnataka, the Golf Festival showcases Karnataka as a premier golfing destination to promote golf tourism in the state.
The Toyota Karnataka Golf Festival will conclude with a gala cocktail and dinner awards ceremony at the Royal Orchid Hotel, Bengaluru on 15th September, 2013 where the winning teams and participants will be felicitated.