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Tee-off time at Beldih, Golmuri

- Lanka, Bangla golfers to grace Tata Open

Top golfers from across the country will blaze the steel city greens in the 11th edition of Tata Open Golf that tees off with a pro-am on Wednesday.

The four-day Tata Steel-organised tournament, which carries a prize money of Rs 50 lakh, will be played at Beldih and renovated Golmuri courses under the aegis of Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI).

Tata Steel vice-president T.V. Narendran will inaugurate the event at the Beldih course at 6.45 am.

The tournament boasts an impressive line-up of professionals, including defending champion Vinod Kumar, Mukesh Kumar and Shamim Khan, as well as other leading golfers like Gurki Shergill, Rashid Khan, Harendra Gupta, Om Prakash Chouhan, Abhijit Singh Chadha, Shankar Das, Vijay Kumar, Feroz Ali Mollah and Harmeet Kahlon.

In all, 118 professionals will be participating in the tournament, now an annual affair.

Top golfers from abroad — Mithun Perera, Anura Rohana (Sri Lanka), Kunal Bhasin (Australia) and Md Zamal Hossain (Bangladesh) — are also in the fray. Jamshedpur’s challenge will be led by Navtez Singh, the only local professional golfer.

Golfers will swap greens to complete playing 18 holes. While the participants would play 18 holes each at both Golmuri and Beldih courses for the opening two days, the next couple of days will see them covering nine holes each at the greens.

The main tournament starts on Thursday and concludes on Sunday, November 25.

Amateur golfers from the steel city will be partnering professionals to compete in the pro-am event. All eyes will be on Karan Taunk and Kurush Heerjee, two upcoming golfers who seem destined to climb the higher echelons of the game.

Karan (25) is among India's top-10 amateur golfers and is ready to turn pro, while Kurush (17) trains at Bangalore-based Touche Golf Academy under Bamby Randhawa, brother of ace golfer Jyoti. He has won 2-3 sub-junior tournaments.

Besides the fat purse, there’s a special prize for the winner of hole-in-one contest. “The winner will be presented Tata Aria by Tata Motors,” Farzan Heerjee, Indian Golf Union council member, told journalists at Beldih Club main hall this afternoon in the presence of PGTI directors Uttam Singh Mundy and Padamjit Sandhu.