Panasonic Open: Tour stars keep driver out of the bag

Panasonic Open: Tour stars keep driver out of the bagNew Delhi: Indian star S.S.P. Chowrasia, Adam Blyth of Australia and Prom Meesawat of Thailand will keep the driver safely tucked in their golf bags as they seek to win the Panasonic Open India, starting Thursday.

The Delhi Golf Club (DGC), famed for its tree-lined fairways and temples surrounding the course, will provide a test of patience for the Asian Tour stars in the US$300,000 event.

Blyth, who finished third at the Indian Open in DGC in 2008, said the course has become one of his favourite stops on the Asian Tour because of its unique design.

“I love this course. It is a great contrast to what we usually play. I don’t hit any drivers here because the course is very tight. A lot of courses we play in these days require long drives so this course is pretty different. I enjoy it,” said Blyth, who is among 10 Australians playing this week.

“The driver is in the bag but it is not getting used! I’m going to hit three wood a couple of times and keep the ball on the fairways,” added Blyth, who has two top-10s on the Asian Tour this year.

Meesawat, ranked third on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, will be on the mission of erasing his play-off defeat to India’s Anirban Lahiri at the SAIL-SBI Open at DGC last month. Lahiri will defend his title this week.

“I have good memories here but this course is very tough. You have to hit it good on every shot until you finish your round. You can’t miss the fairway here. Everyone knows this because we’ve played this course many times,” said Prom, nicknamed the “Big Dolphin” for his burly physique and because he comes from the coastal town of Hua Hin in Thailand.

Like most of the players this week, Prom will be eyeing for a second Asian Tour victory without the use of the driver.

“I never use my driver on this golf course. It isn’t even in my bag. I feel I’m coming close to a win. I’ve put myself in good positions this season so I need to keep up with that momentum. I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing in the last few months – have fun on the course,” he said.

Chowrasia, who finished third on the Order of Merit last year, will return to the scene of his first Asian Tour victory where he won at the DGC in 2008.

“The golf course is not too long so you don’t really need to hit a driver. If you do hit the driver off the tees, there’s a high chance of finding a bush and the key here is to not miss a single fairway,” said Chowrasia, a two-time Asian Tour winner.

“I’ve been playing okay this year. I want to keep a positive mind set. I’m hitting good so there’s no need to worry especially when we play at DGC. All the Indian players have played at DGC so we know this course very well,” he added.

Indian-specialist Rikard Karlberg of Sweden, Peter Karmis of South Africa, Lam Chih Bing of Singapore and Siddikur of Bangladesh, all winners on the Asian Tour will be among the elite field this week.

The worldwide appeal of the Asian Tour stars and the rich heritage associated with India will be showcased throughout four days of the Panasonic Open India to over 200 countries and 650 million homes across the Live, Highlights, Magazine programmes and via the additional exposure generated by Golfing World.

The Panasonic Open India is also supporting the Golf Foundation to raise funds for the underprivileged through birdie counts. The Golf Foundation is a registered Charitable Society of golfers who want to give back to the game by helping a pool of untapped talent.
The Foundation has created very successful golfers like Ashok Kumar, Rashid Khan and Chikkarangappa to name a few. Shubham Jaglan is presently on the Foundation. He is a seven-year-old prodigy who has won almost all events in his category.