The Delhi Golf Club may have lost out the Indian Open to Bangalore’s KGA course this month. However, as a small consolation, it is ready to host its biggest rupee-event this week with the BILT Open making its debut.
With the prize-fund of Rs. 10 million, the event is the biggest hosted by the DGC apart from the euro and dollar-events in the past.
The golf lovers of the Capital will get a chance to soak in the October sun with former champion Jyoti Randhawa heading a strong field.
BILT Open, the inaugural event on the domestic tour in 2006 when PGTI replaced the PGAI as the governing body of professional golf in the country, was played four times in Greater Noida and once, in 2010, in Bangalore.
The third venue in six years is clearly the most prestigious one for the event.
The historic golf course, known for its narrow, tree-lined fairways and unforgiving bushes, will be challenging the course management of those who are happy driving on the modern-day designer courses.
Jyoti Randhawa, winner in 2006 and 2008, will be looking to collect his second title of the year to go with the PGTI Players Championship won at Noida in March.
Defending champion Chiragh Kumar returns to his home course in search of his first title of the season.
Since the event is the last before the cut-off date to determine two spots for the Asian Tour next season, many in the top-10 bracket of the Order of Merit will be keen to strike big this week to make the grade.
Chiragh, who topped the tour’s money list last season and finished runner-up in the Indian Open, sounded optimistic about his chances this week.
“I have been working hard on my game. My short game is looking good and it is just a matter of putting it all together in one week.
“The key to success on this course is not to think too far ahead. One poor shot can leave you with a poor card. I will be sticking to my routine and basics,” said the soft-spoken Chiragh.
“My guess is, anyone shooting 12 to 15 under par should win the title,” said Chiragh and added, “The ball is rolling really well on the greens.”
Lots of domestic tour regulars, including Order of Merit leader and winner of last week’s Crompton Greaves Open Harendra Gupta, runner-up Rashid Khan, Digvijay Singh, Shamim Khan and Ashok Kumar are part of the elite field.
Gaganjit Bhullar, former champion Anirban Lahiri, Himmat Rai and S.S.P. Chowrasia are prominent among those on the list of absentees.
Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of BILT, Mr. Yogesh Agarwal announced the event’s continued association with the PGTI Tour for three more years, till 2015.