PGTI golf meet: Shubhankar, Ajeetesh look to continue hot streak
Kolkata, Dec 20 (IANS) The Indian challenge at the Rs. 1.5 crore PGTI's season-ending golf meet, the Mcleod Russel Tour Championship starting Thursday, will be led by the trio of Shubhankar Sharma, Ajeetesh Sandhu and SSP Chawrasia, all international winners in 2017.
While reigning Indian Open champion Chawrasia will yet again be one of the firm favourites at his home course, Shubhankar and Ajeetesh will also take centre-stage having posted their maiden victories on the global stage only recently.
Twenty-one-year-old Shubhankar took the golfing world by storm last week when he became the youngest Indian to win on the European Tour after a career-defining three-shot triumph at the Joburg Open in South Africa.
Winning the event, tri-sanctioned by the European Tour, Asian Tour and Sunshine Tour, also earned Sharma a berth at his first Major, next year's British Open, which would be played at Carnoustie.
Ajeetesh has also enjoyed a golden run this year, first winning on the PGTI in the first half of the season and then following it up with his breakthrough win on the Asian Tour at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Taipei. He also went on to win a Japanese Challenge Tour event thereafter.
Besides Shubhankar, Ajeetesh and SSP, the other leading Indian names in the field consist of international winners Jyoti Randhawa, Rashid Khan, Chiragh Kumar, Rahil Gangjee and Chikkarangappa.
Interestingly, Rashid and PGTI Order of Merit leader Shamim Khan are joint holders of the course record of nine-under-63. Both achieved the feat in previous editions of the Mcleod Russel Tour Championship.
The event will decide the PGTI Order of Merit champion and vying for top honours will be money list leaders Shamim Khan (Rs. 46,27,983), Udayan Mane (Rs. 41,26,751) and Anura Rohana (Rs. 32,68,836), placed first, second and third respectively.
Kolkata-based rookie Viraj Madappa is the favourite to win the PGTI Emerging Player of the Year title. He is 13th on the PGTI Order of Merit and leads the Emerging Player race with season's earnings of Rs. 18,13,391.
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