Rising golfer S Chikkarangappa and experienced Jyoti Randhawa will be among the Indian stars vying for honours when the inaugural TAKE Open Golf Championship tees off.
TAKE Open, the 13th event of the landmark 10th PGTI season, will be headlined by two of India’s rising stars, Chikkarangappa and Khalin Joshi, both Bengalureans, along with international winners such as the legendary Randhawa as well as Rashid Khan and Rahil Gangjee.
It will be a sweet homecoming for Chikka, who recently secured his Asian Tour card for 2017 after a third straight top-10 in Asia.
Chikka said, “I was struggling with my wedge play till very recently. But after working with my coach, I was able to make a huge improvement in this aspect. As a result, I came up with some low scores over the last one month.
“It’s a big relief that I don’t have to go to the Asian Tour Q School now. The fact that I had to save my card was constantly on my mind, so there was a lot of pressure. But I just told myself to hang in there and be patient.
“The starting and finishing holes are quite important at KGA. They look easy, but if you’re a little off the mark, you could be in big trouble,” added Chikka, the reigning Rolex Ranking champion.
Like Chikka, Khalin too was part of the TAKE Chennai team that won the LP Cup team event at KGA earlier this year. Khalin will be one of the pre-tournament favourites as he is playing at his home course.
Khalin said, “It’s a special week for me since I’m playing at my home course. I’m quite excited to be back at KGA since I won my last event here earlier this year. I also won on the PGTI two months back so that too adds to my confidence.
“I’m in contention for the Rolex Player of the Year title along with the likes of Ajeetesh, Shubhankar and Rashid. I feel the competition for the No. 1 position will get really intense from here on,” added Joshi.
Former Asia No. 1 Randhawa, who recently recovered from a foot injury, also returns to the PGTI after 10 months.
Randhawa said, “I’ve totally recovered from my right foot injury. But I’ve not played too much of late so the swing has been on and off. I’ve played four weeks in a row after a long time. So that’s got me into the playing mode. Now I just need to put four good rounds together and find my rhythm.”
The other big names are, Ajeetesh Sandhu, Shubhankar Sharma and Rashid, the top-3 in the Rolex Ranking, as well as the Bengaluru-based duo of Rahil Gangjee and Udayan Mane.
If one goes by recent form, Mukesh Kumar, last week’s winner in Chennai, will also be a contender. The international challenge will be led by Sri Lankan Mithun Perera.