New Delhi: The Hero Indian Open, which is celebrating its 50th edition next week, has attracted a stellar line-up of Asian Tour stars which will comprise of over 30 Tour champions and five players from the current top-10 of the Order of Merit.
In one of the strongest ever fields to assemble at the Delhi Golf Club from November 7-10, multiple Asian Tour winner Arjun Atwal, who was the Asian number one in 2003, Korea’s Baek Seuk-hyun, local heroes Gaganjeet Bhullar, Shiv Kapur and Anirban Lahiri and Bangladeshi Siddikur will be amongst the leading stars challenging for the Golden anniversary title.
Bhullar, currently third on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, will be the highest ranked player in the elite field, followed by the fourth-ranked Lahiri, Baek, who is fifth, Siddikur who is eighth and ninth-ranked Kapur.
David Gleeson of Australia, the 2011 Hero Indian Open champion, flamboyant Filipino Angelo Que and South Africa’s Jbe Kruger will also feature in the US$1.25 million showpiece, which is one of the longest running tournaments on the Asian Tour Schedule.
Englishman Robert Rock, a two-time winner in Europe, and Michael Thompson, a winner on the PGA Tour, will be hoping to make it a memorable visit by winning the Hero Indian Open which will see players from no fewer than 15 different nationalities vying for honours.
Former Indian Open champions Mardan Mamat of Singapore, C. Muniyappa and Jyoti Randhawa of India are also in the field next week. Sweden’s Daniel Chopra, who has close affinity to India and a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, will also tee up at the Delhi Golf Club.
Que, known as one of the most carefree players on the Asian Tour, will be determined to continue his solid track record at the Hero Indian Open where he finished tied 10thand tied 21st in 2012 and 2011 respectively.
The 35-year-old Filipino has enjoyed a superb season so far, posting three top-five finishes and currently sits in 15th position on the Order of Merit. He hopes to sweeten a relatively successful year with a fourth Asian Tour win at the Hero Indian Open
“I’ve been playing really well for the whole year. Every time I’m in contention I seem to keep going unlike before when I sort of slide down when I’m in contention. I think it is mainly because of my short game,” said Que.
“I worked hard on my chipping and putting and it has been working. If I can get everything together for one whole week then I might have a chance to win.”
Siddikur, the first Bangladeshi to play and win on the Asian Tour and Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka are expected to shine with their immensely accurate games at the tree-lined Delhi Golf Club.
Ranked ninth on the Order of Merit, Siddikur will adopt a new aggressive style of play after watching and playing with Major winners Bubba Watson and Keegan Bradley in the opening two days at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia last week.
“Previously, I always played it safe but I learnt from them (Watson and Bradley) that sometimes, you need to play aggressively. That’s what I tried and it really worked for me. This experience will help me in the long run. I can’t play like how they do but I can certainly learn from their attacking play,” said Siddikur.
Asian Tour winner Prom Meesawat of Thailand insists that he is firmly focussed on winning his second title on the region’s premier Tour which is celebrating its 10thseason in 2013.
Nicknamed the ‘Big Dolphin’ for his physique and because he hails from the coastal town of Hua Hin, Prom won his first Asian Tour title in 2006 in Korea but struggled to hit top form due to numerous injuries.
“I’m fully recovered now and my goal for the rest of the Asian Tour season is to aim for that long-awaited second win! I’m very focussed and I’m still very hungry for a win. My game is in good shape and am confident that the win will come soon,” said Prom.