Event Preview - Chopra returns to India among star-studded field
Sweden's Daniel Chopra will be hoping for a winning return when tees off at the Hero Honda Indian Open on Thursday.
After a seven-year absence from competitive golf in India, Chopra will be bidding for a successful week at the renowned Delhi Golf Club.
He will be expected to face a stiff challenge as six of the top-10 players on the Asian Tour's Order of Merit will be present on course this week, including the top-three players who are fighting for the Order of Merit race.
New Zealand's Mark Brown will lead the Asian Tour charge followed by local stars Jeev Milkha Singh and S.S.P Chowrasia. Jyoti Randhawa will return to defend his crown and he will be joined by other top Asian Tour stars who include China's Liang Wen-chong and Kane Webber of Australia who is ranked 10th on the money list.
Born in Stockholm to a Swedish mother and Indian father, Chopra spent most of his childhood days in New Delhi. Having shifted his game to United States, Chopra will be relishing his return to a course which he holds close to heart.
"Coming back here for the first time since 2001 brings back good memories. It's amazing to see how the golf course has changed. The bushes are the thickest I've ever seen and it's turned out to be a very intimidating course.
"I remember celebrating my eighth birthday here. But one of my fondest memories is when I played games with my friends till the sun went down and it was great fun," said the Florida-based golfer, who tasted his first win in the region at the 2001 Mercuries Masters, Taiwan.
Randhawa will be gunning to make it three wins in a row at the Delhi Golf Club. Following in the footsteps of golfing icon Peter Thomson by lifting the title a third time last year, Randhawa hopes to relive the memories of last year for a top finish.
"Every time you tee it up, it's a new game. I was doing well in the beginning of the season and then I was not doing too good mid-season. It's not been very consistent.
"The biggest hurdle is myself, the golf course and the elements. Daniel (Chopra) is a good player and Jeev (Milkha Singh) is solid so they will also pose a strong challenge," said Randhawa.
Singh, who was the 2006 Asian Tour's Order of Merit winner, will be eyeing for the elusive national Open title.
"The greens are rolling nicely and there are some good players this week with Jyoti (Randhawa) and Daniel (Chopra). It will be a fun week with a lot of depth in the field here.
"I am still trying to learn the course. I've played here many times, probably not as many as Chopra, but I am still not comfortable here. It's a challenging layout. I haven't won a national Open and it would be great to do so," said Singh.
October 8, 2008