European Tour regulars Peter Hanson and Richie Ramsay will headline a glittering field when the 49th edition of the Hero Indian Open — setting foot in south India for the first time — begins at the Karnataka Golf Association in Bangalore next month. Hanson (ranked No. 23 in the world) and Ramsay will be joined by 35 of the top 40 on the Asian Tour including Gaganjeet Bhullar, Anirban Lahiri, Thaworn Wiratchant and J.B. Kruger.

Announcing the field here on Tuesday, Yannick Colaco, COO of Nimbus Sport, called it “the best-ever in the history of the competition.” Colaco revealed that with the cancellation of the European Tour’s Andalucia Masters, scheduled for the same dates (October 18-21), more requests could be expected till entries closed in a week’s time. “We have been approached by a few European Tour players. We’ll see what happens,” Colaco said. Jeev Milkha Singh and Arjun Atwal, however, are yet to confirm their participation.

In its 48-year history, the Indian Open, an Asian Tour event, has only been hosted in Kolkata and the National Capital Region. The move to Bangalore would open new vistas for golf in the country, felt Mike Kerr, CEO of the Asian Tour. “We fully support the decision to take the tournament to different parts of the country,” he said. “It will fuel greater interest and help Indian golf. Even the players are excited about competing in a new city.”

Kerr expressed satisfaction over arrangements at the KGA course. “The facilities are second to none,” he said. “We conducted a course survey and received a glowing report from the tournament director. Obviously a new venue poses challenges but we will be here to ensure things go well.”

2009 winner C. Muniyappa, who will be playing on his home course, unveiled the trophy. The Hero Indian Open will be held from October 18 to 21 and will offer prize money of USD 1.25 million.

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