Special Correspondent

  • The event has attracted Randhawa, Ghei, Shiv Kapur among others
  • The scores of the professionals will be on the stroke-play format

    GURGAON: The inaugural DLF Masters golf tournament is sure to go down better with the amateurs than the elite of Indian pros.

    The new format adopted for the Rs. 65 lakh event allows more than 50 amateurs, mostly "corporate professionals," to join an equal number of qualifying professionals over the weekend at the DLF Golf and Country Club here.

    The event has attracted Jyoti Randhawa, Gaurav Ghei, Shiv Kapur, Ashok Kumar and S.S.P. Chowrasia among the host of Indian professionals. The winner's share of Rs. 10,53,000 will also be the biggest ever on offer at this picturesque course.

    The presence of a large number of corporate golfers in a professional event is new in the country.

    As a result, the format followed in well-known events like the AT&T Pebble Beach pro-am and the Dunhill Links Championship is certain to test the patience of the professionals once they make the `cut'.

    Gaurav Ghei said the format would be interesting. "It is going to be challenging. It would be nice if these amateurs know where to draw the line. As a professional, one has to be lucky to get a good amateur as his playing partner (on the last two days)," said Ghei.

    Ashok Kumar said he had no clue about the new format. "I have never played with amateurs as partners so I don't know what to expect. So far, my form is good and I plan to continue to concentrate on my golf over the never four days," he said.

    Randhawa said, "I am committed to the PGTI Open and it is great to be playing on my home course."

    "One has to play really well to win here. The increased prize money has made the golfers work harder on their game and the low scores reflect the rising standards of Indian golf," said the reigning Indian Open champion.

    Randhawa said he would be playing at least 20 events on the European Tour besides a few on the Asian Tour this year before going for the US Tour's Qualifying School.

    Talented youngsters

    Talking about the growing PGTI Tour, Randhawa sounded pleased. "We can already see a lot of talented youngsters on the circuit shooting really low scores. Just look at Ashok Kumar's winning score of 19-under at the BPGC (in Mumbai) last week. Irrespective of the conditions, the score is truly world-class."

    Gaganjit Bhullar, a vastly talented youngster who came second to Ashok last week, will be in the company of Randhawa and Ghei over the next two days, while Ashok, Shiv Kapur and Singapore's Lam Chih Bing form yet another interesting threesome.

    Kapur, cleared by his doctor to play after a back injury, will be aiming to be consistent.

    The scores of the professionals will be on the stroke-play format. There will also be team prizes up for grabs.

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