Panasonic Open India shows PGTI has a good talent pool
New Delhi 4,November2017(News4city Desk) – The Panasonic Open India has always been a stepping stone of sorts for Indian players, who are trying for breakthrough on the international front. Barring SSP Chawrasia, for the other four Indian winners of the Panasonic Open India, it was their first Asian Tour win. And that list includes Anirban Lahiri, who has since then gone on to make it to the PGA Tour in the United States.
As the sun set on the third day of the 2017 edition of the Panasonic Open India, some of the Indian players in contention have never won an Asian Tour event. Of them, Om Prakash Chouhan, who is Tied-3rd alongside Sudhir Sharma, is by the far the most successful with five wins on the Indian Tour. But Sharma, originally from Army Golf Club, Meerut, who now plays at Jaypee, has not even won on the Indian PGTI Tour. In the bunch at Tied-8th, Divyanshu Bajaj of the Royal Calcutta Golf Club and Aman Raj have also not won anywhere, though in 2016 Karandeep Kochar won a pro event while still being an amateur. Honey Baisoya has won four PGTI titles.
On the traditional moving day, the third day of the tournament, Chouhan and Sudhir Sharma shot six-under 66 each to move from five-under for 36 holes to 11-under for 54. Bajaj, who counts senior pros Chawrasia and Rahil Gangjee as two of his closest friends, was going fine till he dropped a double bogey on 16th and a bogey on 18th to finish at 72 and is 8-under alongside Kochar.
According to Uttam Singh Mundy, CEO of the PGTI, “The Indian PGTI Tour has become very strong and the depth is getting better each season. If you ask me, there is anything between 25-30 guys who are capable of winning on the PGTI Tour any week. And when it comes to the Asian Tour, if there are 20-25 Indians playing various events, at least 15 of them have the ability to win any week. The reason is clear – the tournaments at home have prepared them well for the bigger tests.”
Looking at the names on the leaderboards, many of whom have not even won on Indian Tour, Mundy added, “It is great to see names like Om Prakash, Sudhir, Divyanshu, Aman Raj, Karandeep Kochar, Honey Baisoya, Veer Ahlawat, Manu Gandas and so on. It is great mix of young and new talent and they are challenging established stars like Shiv Kapur, SSP Chawrasia, Shamim Khan, Ajeetesh, Rashid and Chiragh. Let’s put it this way – Indian golf is headed in the right direction and is in safe hands of these newcomers.”
This week, the field of 126 had 76 Indians and as 49 of them made the halfway cut, which fell at 2-over.