Nov 12, 2019: India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar returns home for his first competitive start since March, ready to show why he is one of the country’s best golfers when the ninth edition of the US$400,000 Panasonic Open India starts on Thursday.
With nine Asian Tour titles, Bhullar holds the most number of victories by an Indian golfer on the Asian Tour and is also the player with the most number of victories in the field.
Bhullar has been playing primarily in Europe this season following his win in Fiji last year. While it has been a season of mixed fortunes, the 31-year-old hopes to turn the corner with his first Asian Tour victory on home soil this week.
Shiv Kapur narrowly missed out on his fifth Asian Tour title in a play-off defeat in Thailand last week and is hoping to bounce back and reclaim the Panasonic Open India title which he won in 2017.
The 2019 edition will see five of the eight previous winners return to the event with defending champion Khalin Joshi hoping to become the first to successfully retain his title at the Panasonic Open India which tees off at a new venue at the Classic Golf and Country Club this year.
Rory Hie will be hoping to break local hearts and its dominance again when he returns to his winning venue again after two months.
Hie became the first Indonesian to win a title on the Asian Tour and he did so in spectacular fashion with his wire-to-wire victory at the Classic Golf and Country Club International Championship in September.
Did you know?
- Gaganjeet Bhullar picked up golf at the age of four from his father. He grew up at Kapurthala Golf Club, in a city located north of India.
- Bhullar was India’s number one amateur in 2004 and 2006 and claimed a silver medal in the team event at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha. He also won the World Junior Masters Championship in 2005.
- Kapur won the first edition of the 2017/2018 Panasonic Swing thanks to his Panasonic Open India win and his tied-second place finish at the Thailand Open in 2017.
- Kapur’s best year on the Asian Tour was 2005 when he finished fourth on the Order of Merit. He was also crowned the rookie of the year that season.
- The 2017 season was also one to remember for Kapur as he won three Asian Tour events: Yeangder Heritage, Panasonic Open India and the Royal Cup.
- Seven of the eight winners going back to 2011 have been Indian, but no one has been able to repeat the success.
- Five of the eight past Panasonic Open India champions are in the field this week. They are Khalin Joshi, Shiv Kapur, Mukesh Kumar, Chiragh Kumar and Digvijay Singh.
- Rory Hie is the first Indonesian to win a title on the Asian Tour. His wire-to-wire victory at the Classic Golf and Country Club International Championship sealed his place in the winner’s circle in September.
- The Classic Golf and Country Club is hosting the Panasonic Open India for the first time since it was inaugurated in 2011.
- The Panasonic Open India is the second leg of the third edition of the Asian Tour’s 2019/20 Panasonic Swing, which is a ranking based on an aggregate points race that spans five events with the final top-three players chasing a share of a lucrative bonus pool.