Ahead of the 2016 edition of the Panasonic Open India, starting here from Thursday, defending champion Chiragh Kumar on Tuesday said he will not pressurise himself for a win despite being the home favourite at the iconic Delhi Golf Club (DGC).
The tournament will feature a strong elite 120-man field, made up of golfers from the Asian Tour and the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI).
Besides Chiragh, the home challenge will comprise of promising Chikkarangappa S. and Shubhankar Sharma, among others.
Chiragh said that there was no such added pressure on him despite returning to his home course as he feels the better player on the day will carry home the $400,000 winning cheque.
“It’s always a great feeling to be back to one’s home course. Hopefully, I can repeat my last year’s performance this year too. But having said that, I am not going to put any pressure on myself,” he told reporters here.
“Tournaments are never won like that, somebody playing better than me on the given day may go through. It’s always a part of the game.”
Sharing one of his memorable moments from the last edition, Chiragh said: “Last year, till the very end of the final round the competition was really tough. I along with Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman and Chikkarangappa were going so close to each other which made it quite intense.”
Chikka, who represented India in the World Cup in Australia last week, is aiming to carry on with his good form and get a win under his belt.
“This season has been really good for me, the World Cup was an amazing learning experience for young golfers like me. When you play alongside the greats of the game, particularly the winners of Majors, it boosts your confidence,” the Bengaluru golfer said.
“I am looking for that breakthrough this season and hopefully it comes this week here at the DGC. There is no such pressure but I am really hoping for a great week ahead,” he added.
Among the foreign stars, Chinese Liang Wen-chong, Mardan Mamat of Singapore, Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond and Sri Lankan Mithun Perera will be the main attractions at the full-field Asian Tour event.
With the Panasonic Open India being the penultimate event of the 2016 season, players will have everything to play for as they vie to break into top-60 on the final Order of Merit, which is the cut-off mark for players to secure their Tour cards for the 2017 season.
Past champions of the Panasonic Open India include reigning Order of Merit champion Anirban Lahiri (2011), Digvijay Singh (2012), Wade Ormsby (2013), S.S.P. Chawrasia (2014) and Chiragh (2015). Australian Ormsby is the only non-Indian to win the event.