Defending champ Thippong ready for strong home challenge from Sandhu, Bhullar, Kapur

New Delhi [India], February 11 (ANI): Defending champion Nitithorn Thippong, who rose up the ranks after his win at the inaugural edition of The DGC Open a year ago, will return to the venue of his maiden Asian Tour win.

The 26-year-old Thai golfer won twice more after the success in The DGC Open. Following his win in India, Thippong won International Series Singapore and the Bangkok Open, on the local Thai Golf Tour, which helped him finish fourth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Among the stars, Thippong will need to contend with Gaganjeet Bhullar, who has won 10 times on the Asian Tour, the most by any Indian. Bhullar, who had a strong finish with a fourth-place finish at the inaugural edition of The DGC Open, had a fine run after that and it included a win at the Mandiri Indonesia Open, his 10th Asian Tour win. Prior to the event in Delhi, Bhullar was T-5 in International Series Thailand and was also T-5 at International Series Korea besides winning an event on the PGTI, the Jeev Milkha Singh invitational. Later he finished T5 at Indonesia Masters and ended the season in 14th place on the Order of Merit.

Other top stars in the field include Ajeetesh Sandhu, runner-up at the tournament last year, Shiv Kapur, Veer Ahlawat and Yuvraj Sandhu, who were all tied sixth. Three other Indians, Shamim Khan, Yashas Chandra and M Dharma were tied 10th.

The tournament will see the prize purse rise by 50 per cent as it goes from USD 500,000 to USD 750,000 for its second edition. The event in its inaugural year was voted by the Players as the third-best event on the 21-event schedule of the Asian Tour.

The field will have 132 players, and players from around 25 countries are expected for the week.

The Delhi Golf Club has been called the “Home of Indian Golf” and has hosted international events for more than half a century, going back to 1964. The Club, which has a rich legacy, has always promoted excellence in golf. It has been a nursery for Indian golf with a number of Arjun Awardees hailing from the club and some of its most successful members include four-time Asian Tour winner, Shiv Kapur, and other Asian Tour winners like Chiragh Kumar.

Among the landmark events it has hosted, the iconic Delhi Golf Club was the venue for the first Indian Open, the 1982 Asian Games and is renowned for its junior development programmes, which have given birth to many stars. It has also been at the forefront of the promotion of women’s golf, having hosted several international events as well.

India has more than a dozen players on the Asian Tour who have a full Tour card for the world’s third largest Tour, which will have close to USD 50 million in prize purse in 2023 with its schedule including 10 International Series events and full field Tour events.

The historic Delhi Golf Club course was first designed by five-time Open winner, Peter Thomson, and was later redesigned by the nine-time Major winner, Gary Player, who was present at the inaugural edition of The DGC Open presented by Mastercard. The 6,900-yard (approximately) iconic DGC is spread over 179 acres and nestled in the heart of Delhi. (ANI)

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