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Rediff.com  » Sports » Jeev, Randhawa for Indian Open

Jeev, Randhawa for Indian Open

September 20, 2007 18:48 IST

Jeev Milkha Singh and defending champion Jyoti Randhawa are set to grace the famous fairways of Delhi Golf Club next month at the Hero Honda Indian Open.

In a major coup for the tournament's organizers, India's golfing giants will compete in the prestigious event, from October 11 to 14, which will be broadcast live on Star Sports.

The overall purse has been increased by US $100,000 to a record US $500,000.

Also in the field will be Thailand's Thaworn Wiratchant, the winner in 2005 who also won the Midea China Classic last week for his ninth Asian Tour title, and the 2004 champion Mardan Mamat from Singapore.

China's Liang Wenchong, leader of the Asian Tour's UBS Order of Merit title, and veteran Australian Peter Senior will also be seen in action.

Launching the event in Delhi on Thursday, Pawan Munjal, MD & CEO, Hero Honda Motors Ltd, said: "The Hero Honda Indian Open is going to see a lot of action this year with the participation of Jeev Milkha Singh, and Jyoti Randhawa trying to defend the title he won last year.

"It is indeed a treat for golf lovers in the country to see these Indian players vie for honours with top-notch international golfers at the Delhi Golf Club. The participation of these players, US $500,000 as prize money and live telecast of the event, all certainly make the Hero Honda Indian Open the most eagerly awaited golfing event in the country."

This year marks the third successive season that Hero Honda have title sponsored the tournament, which was inaugurated in 1964, when Australian legend Peter Thomson emerged triumphant.

All eyes will be on Singh as his participation means that his many fans at home will get to see him play for the first time since his phenomenal 2006 season. The man from Chandigarh won four times across the world last year and lifted the UBS Order of Merit crown.

He started 2006 by ending a frustrating seven-year winless drought with victory at the Volvo China Open. The Volvo win sparked a rich vein of form as he went on to win the Volvo Masters, the European Tour's season-ending event, in Spain in October and then back-to-back titles in Japan at the Casio World Open, his first triumph in Japan, and the Golf Nippon Series JT Cup.

So the 35-year-old can expect a hero's welcome when he returns to Delhi Golf Club and bids to win his National Open for the first time.

Randhawa beat S S P Chowrasia and Vijay Kumar in a thrilling sudden-death play-off last year. It marked the second time Randhawa had won the tournament and also gave him a sweet hat-trick of Hero Honda titles as he won the Hero Honda Masters in 1998 and 1999.

Hero Honda's support of the Indian Open is an extension of their golf sponsorship programme. They have been at the forefront of professional golf in India for a number of years through sponsorship of the domestic tour and the Hero Honda Masters from 1997 to 2003.

The Indian Open is India's oldest running international sporting competition and has been staged at Delhi Golf Club for the past five years.