Calcutta: The Goodricke East India Amateur Golf Championship kicks off at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) on Thursday and will get a Yuletide finish on Christmas Day.
The tournament, formally known as the Amateur Championship, is the oldest golf championship in India — and the oldest outside England. It was renamed the East India Amateur Championship in 1958.
Eighty-four players will be vying for top honours at this prestigious tournament, which is an Indian Golf Union (IGU)-categorised event.
This year, the handicap has been fixed at seven.
Over 50 outstation golfers have confirmed entry, among them top-10 amateur players like Simarjeet Singh, Jasjeet Singh, Saurav Bahuguna, Gagan Varma, Keshav Mishra, Jaideep Patwardhan, Manav Das and Harinder Gupta.
Manav is the Indian Amateur runner-up and RCGC Cup winner, while Harinder is last year’s junior champion.
Two juniors who have qualified are 15-year-old Surya Prakash and 13-year-old Karanbir Chowdhury.
East India junior winner Akshay Butta, however, will not be participating as he is playing in Mumbai.
Bengal will be represented by Asian Games gold-medallist Lakshman Singh, Gaurav Ghosh, A. Khaitan, S. Mehra, Ranjeet Singh, Arjun Singh, S. Chitlangia and RCGC captain Ashit Luthra.
Ashok Kumar, who won the match play and stroke play events last year, cannot participate as he has turned professional and recently won the Noida Open, his first pro title.
The RCGC will also be celebrating its 175th anniversary in February 2004 and the month-and-a-half long festivities will commence with the East India Amateur Championship next year.
The club plans to invite captains of all the Royal Clubs all over the world to participate.
Also, though it is not the RCGC’s turn to host the All India Amateur Championship, the IGU has granted the club’s request to stage the event in 2004 as part of the 175th year festivities.