Asian Tour sets new venue for Panasonic Open India

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GURGAON: The $400,000 Panasonic Open India will move to the Classic Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon when it returns to the Asian Tour for its ninth consecutive edition from November 14 to 17.

Dubbed as one of India’s finest courses, the Classic Golf and Country Club is the first Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course in South Asia and it comprises of an 18-Hole Signature Championship Course as well as a 9-Hole Signature Canyon Course.

It also witnessed a slice of history in 2009 when Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat recorded the world’s lowest 72-hole score with a 32-under-par to win the third of his four Asian Tour titles then.

The then 25-year-old Thai had opened his campaign with two consecutive 10-under-par 62s before signing for a third-round 65 and a final-round 67, thanks to a closing birdie which helped him claim a commanding 11-shot victory.

Prior to hosting its first Asian Tour event in 2009, the Classic Golf and Country Club was home to the prestigious Indian Open in 2000 and 2001. Over the past few years, it has also played host to several tournaments on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI).

The Panasonic Open India, staged previously at the Delhi Golf Club, celebrated worthy champions in Anirban Lahiri (2011), Digvijay Singh (2012), Australian Wade Ormsby (2013), SSP Chawrasia (2014), Chiragh Kumar (2015), Mukesh Kumar (2016), Shiv Kapur (2017) and Khalin Joshi (2018).

It is also known to have jumpstarted the careers for many leading Indian players such as Lahiri. Since winning the inaugural edition, Lahiri has gone on to win six more titles and was crowned the 2014 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion. He is currently plying his trade on the PGA Tour.

Cho Minn Thant, Asian Tour chief operating officer, said: “We are very excited to return to The Classic Golf and Country Club for the ninth staging of the Panasonic Open India this year. It has been 10 long years since we last held an event on that course and to head back to a course where our member Chapchai set a world record is really exciting news for us.

“Since its inauguration in 2011, the Panasonic Open India has produced many worthy champions over the years. We hope that we can continue to unearth new talents through this event,” Cho added.

B Hariharan , managing director of Landbase India Limited, which owns and operates the Signature Golf  Course, said: “We are delighted that the prestigious Panasonic Open India is being staged at the Classic Golf and Country Club and we look forward to working with key stakeholders to make this a memorable event.”

Co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), the tournament continues to form part of the unique Panasonic Swing, an aggregate point race that spans five events where players have an opportunity to shoot for a share of the lucrative bonus pool.

India’s Shiv Kapur topped the inaugural 2017/18 Panasonic Swing ranking with total points of 2922.90, thanks largely to his victory at the Panasonic Open India, which was his first Asian Tour victory on home soil and second win in 2017.

Kapur went on to win his fourth Asian Tour title at the Royal Cup in Thailand one month later and became the first and only player to win three times on the region’s premier Tour that season.

The Panasonic Open India has been dominated by Indians since its inception. Australian Wade Ormsby remains the only non-Indian player to have won the tournament when he emerged victorious in 2013.