Pune, Jan 18 (UNI) Defending champions Bombay Presidency Golf Club, alongside Poona Club, are firm favourites in the 12th Grover Vineyards Inter-Club Golf Championship, which will begin at the par-71 Poona Golf Club here tomorrow.
The four-team championship, which includes five-time winner United Services Club and Willingdon Sports Club, is the biggest amateur event in Western India, announced Kapil Grover, chairman of Grover Vineyards Ltd, at a news conference on Wednesday.
He said ''The event has now grown into the biggest inter-club event for amateurs in the country.'' The championship will be played on a round robin Ryder Cup match play format and each team is represented by 24 players, of whom 21 will play each day. From each club, three players will play the singles. The three players comprise the foursomes and six pairs compete in the fourball matchups.
The four clubs are armed with their best golfers, chosen after a rigorous selection process. The finest played below 15 handicap for men and 18 handicap for women will compete with each other in a format that is fine-tuned to an extent so that the best golfers can win.
On paper, Poona Golf Club is the strongest with 14 players with single handicaps.
According to Mr Grover, they would have been even stronger, but quite a few of their players will be away at the time of the tournament, participating in the Nationals.
However, BPGC captain A S Mann felt his team was the more balanced and would be favorites again to retain the title.
''We have travelled to Pune and played about five or six rounds there, so there is hardly any home advantage for Poona Golf Club. We also have some very talented and experienced players,'' he said.
Mann was referring to the likes of leading amateurs Amit Nigam, Nohar Nath, Shivas Nath and Ajay Patel, who have already helped BPGC win four titles. The dark horses can be US Club, who have won five titles and have players like Col N S Bains, Shreekanth Nagaraj and Yash Yadav, all single handicappers.
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