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Five Indians for Dunhill Links tourney

September 24, 2003 20:52 IST

Four leading Indian professionals and one legendary amateur will try to make it a third successive unforgettable week for golf in the country when they take on some of the finest names in the business at the US$-5 million Dunhill Links Championship, a premier tournament on the European PGA Tour, which begins at three of the most famous links course in Scotland from Thursday.

Former cricket captain Kapil Dev will join Jyoti Randhawa, Asia's No 1 player in 2002 and winner of Suntory Open in Japan less than a fortnight back; Arjun Atwal, the current No 1 in Asian PGA Tour Order of Merit and twice winner on the European PGA Tour; Amandeep Johl and Arjun Singh.

Along with Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, Charlie Wi and Kevin Na of Korea and Zhang Lian-wei of China, the four Indians will aim to score a point for Asian golf in the highest prize-money tournament on the European PGA Tour calendar.

Randhawa, with his confidence at an all-time high following his breakthrough victory on the Japanese Tour, will be looking to better his sixth place finish in the same tournament last year.

"I love competing in the tough conditions of the links courses and it cannot get better than the three host venues. I am hopeful of doing well this year too, as I have learnt my lessons from the British Open earlier this year, and the victory in Japan has given me a real boost," said the twice Hero Honda Masters champion.

Atwal, winner of the Malaysian Open earlier this year, was hopeful of getting together his game after going through a lean patch which saw him miss four successive cuts.

"I am not playing too badly. just messing up a couple of holes every day. I have got to hold it for the entire 18 holes. The fact that the cut is applied after three days this week will help," said the Kolkata pro who is sponsored by Dunhill and plays the first three days with amateur partner Kapil Dev.

"It would be fun playing with Kapil. I will also be able to speak with someone in Punjabi during a round after a long,  long time," added Atwal.

Johl and Arjun Singh made it to the tournament on the basis of their strong show on the Asian PGA Tour. While Johl would like to get over his British Open disappointment (he lost in a playoff in the qualifier), Arjun is playing some hot golf and can make some noise here despite the completely different and difficult playing conditions.

Billed as a celebration of links golf, the 2003 Dunhill Links Championship has one of the most impressive fields to line up this week at three different links courses - St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarn.

The tournament features the current top eight on the Volvo Order of Merit - Ernie Els, Darren Clarke, Thomas Björn, defending champion Padraig Harrington, Ian Poulter, Phillip Price, Paul Casey and Adam Scott. The field is further strengthened by the appearance of international golfers such as three time winner this year on the PGA Tour, Vijay Singh and three-time Major champion Nick Price as well as American Shaun Micheel, winner of the 2003 PGA Championship.

A total of 168 teams of one professional and one amateur are to contest the first three rounds, with one round being played at each of the three links courses in rotation. Two competitions are played concurrently - Professional Individual and Team.

The team score will be the best net score of the two players at each hole.

After 54 holes the field reduces to the leading 60 professionals and ties plus the 20 leading teams, all of whom play the final round over the Old Course at St. Andrews.