Shiv Kapur will lead a bunch of six Indians, including seasoned Jyoti Randhawa and three-time Asian Tour winner Anirban Lahiri at the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open, which tees off at the Ibaraki Country Club here on Thursday.
Apart from Kapur, Randhawa and Lahiri, the other Indians in the field are Himmat Rai, C. Muniyappa and Digvijay Singh, each of whom has one Asian Tour win each against their names.
Digvijay, interestingly won the Panasonic Open India in 2012, while Anirban Lahiri won the same title in 2011.
In addition to the title at the Yen 150 million (approx. $1.48 million), the players will also be jostling for a place in the top-10 of the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
The top-10 as on October 7 will get to qualify for the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, an event that is jointly sanctioned by the Asian and US PGA Tours.
Currently, there are three Indians — Gaganjeet Bhullar (second), Lahiri (seventh) and Kapur (ninth) on the Order of Merit. Bhullar is not playing in Japan this week, having opted to participate at the Dunhill Championships in Scotland on European Tour.
The top-two on Order of Merit also qualify for the $8 million WGC-HSBC Champions event in China.
Rising star Lahiri, a three-time Asian Tour winner, will not have any injury doubts even though he has yet to fully recover from a knee injury. It will be a big week for Lahiri as a victory will put him in firm position to qualify for the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.