Young guns ready to fire at Hero Indian Open

Hero Indian Open 2017 gets ready to welcome Asian and European youngsters, under the age of 25 who are ready to make a mark of their own.

Shubhankar Sharma of India

Feb 27, 2017: The young guns from Asia and Europe will be ready to shoot for glory when the Hero Indian Open gets underway next week.

From teenagers to those in their early 20s, many of the emerging stars have already shown glimpses of their potential and are simply waiting for their moment in the sun at India’s richest golf tournament.

India has its own Shubhankar Sharma, 19, Chikkarangappa S., 23 and Khalin Joshi 24, each of whom has come close to their maiden win on the Asian Tour.

Thai teen phenom Phachara Khongwatmai, just 18 and Australian Todd Sinott, 24, who have begun to catch the eye are looking at making a mark at the Hero Indian Open which takes place at the DLF Golf and Country Club from March 9 to 12.

The most prodigious young talent in Asia is perhaps Phachara – the youngest Asian Development Tour winner at 15-years-old, four years ago.

He was tied-second at the BNI Indonesian Masters and also enjoyed three other top-five finishes in 2016. This year he was second at the SMBC Singapore Open and then again second at the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth.

Only a month ago, another Thai youngster, Jazz Janewattananond won his first Asian Tour title at the 2017 Bashundhara Bangladesh Open by four shots. Jazz is so named because his father loves jazz music.

Leading the young Turks from Europe will be 22-year-old Matteo Manassero, who at one stage looked like he was going to take the golf world by storm. Manassero was the second youngest full European Tour member in history after Seve Ballesteros. He was also the youngest winner in European Tour history thanks to his victory in the 2010 Castello Masters, aged just 17 years and 188 days. Still a teenager he won three European Tour titles. One ranked as high as No. 25 in the world, some changes in swing and body saw his form dip, but last year he was third at Scottish Open and T-17 at Turkish Airlines Open.

Another great young talent is 19-year-old Renato Paratore, who at 17 years and 341 days became the third youngest player in the history of the Qualifying School to claim a European Tour card in 2014. Last year he was T-7 at both Omega European Masters and Alfred Dunhill Links. With a brilliant amateur career, he won the Men’s Individual Strokeplay Gold at the 2014 Youth Olympics in China.

Portugal’s Ricardo Gouveia, 24, set records tumbling in his rookie season on the European Challenge Tour last year, topping the Road to Oman Rankings. Gouveia claimed his third career title and second of 2015 at the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final and set a record for earnings. He has already become the highest-ranked Portuguese player of all time earlier in the season.

Just 21, Paul Dunne, made headlines in 2015 when, as an amateur, he shared the lead heading into the final round of The Open Championship at St Andrews. His 204 (-12) 54-hole total was a record low for an amateur. He is coming off his first European Tour top ten finish at last week’s Joburg Open.

All the top Indians and World No. 25 Rafa Cabrera-Bello will be seen in action at the Hero Indian Open, a co-sanctioned event on the Asian Tour and European Tour.

The Hero Indian Open will be held at the Gary Player course at the DLF Golf & Country Club.

The prize purse has been enhanced to US$ 1.75 million, which is almost six times more than US$ 300,000, which it was when Hero took on the Title Sponsorship of the Indian Open in 2005.


Asian Tour Release


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