Calcutta: A strong Indian contingent, including 15 Asian PGA Tour title-winners, will begin the quest for a fifth straight Hero Honda Masters on Thursday.
The $ 300,000 event, the 14th leg of the Asian PGA Tour, will be held at the Delhi Golf Club.
The field for the sixth edition of Hero Honda Masters is one of the strongest-ever assembled in India, with as many as 47 Asian PGA titles between the entrants.
Arjun Atwal, the current Order of Merit leader, and American Gerry Norquist lead the list with five titles each.
Four others — Jyoti Randhawa, Jeev Milkha Singh, Boonchu Ruangkit and Thammanoon Srirot — have four each.
Players from 18 countries will be participating in this prestigious event with the largest contingent being from the United States (15).
Australia will be represented by a dozen.
If the Indians have 15 titles between them, the Thais have 13 and will indeed be a formidable challenge.
Among others who will be keenly watched are the US-based Anthony Kang, American Clay Devers, Scot Simon Yates, Englishman Chris Williams and Swede Stephen Lindskog.
Arjun Atwal, the only Asian to win twice on the European PGA Tour, could increase the distance between him and the rest of the field with a victory here.
That would make it an Indian on top of the Asian PGA Tour for the second straight year.
Last year’s topper Jyoti Randhawa, the only player to win the Hero Honda Masters twice, is also in the fray. Another Indian with four titles is Jeev Milkha Singh, who is very keen to win the event.
This meet marks the first time in more than 20 months that the Big Three of Indian golf will be seen together on Indian soil.
Gaurav Ghei and Vijay Kumar, both of whom have won APGA titles here at the Delhi Golf Club, will also be throwing their hats into the ring.
While the four-day main event gets underway on Thursday, many of the leading players will get a chance to test the lush green and revamped DGC course during the Pro-Am on Wednesday.