Indian golfers mount a strong challenge at Avantha Masters

New Delhi, Feb 13 (PTI) The region''s elite golfers,spearheaded by a very strong Indian challenge, will be eagerto get their 2011 Asian Tour season off to a flying start whenthey tee up at the co-sanctioned Avantha Masters next week.

The event is co-sanctioned with the European Tour.

The Euros 1.8 million (approx USD 2.3 million) showpiecewill be staged from February 17 to 20, 2011 at the DLF Golfand Country Club.

The Avantha Masters is the biggest professional event inIndia. Started last year with a purse of Euros 1.5 million, ithas increased the purse by 20 per cent this year adding tothee excitement.

Defending the title will be Andrew Dodt of Australia.

The local brigade will be spearheaded by Asian Tourhonorary member and two-time Order of Merit winner Jeev MilkhaSingh, who will be hoping to bounce back after a dismal 2010season plagued by injuries.

"I just want to prepare myself to be injury-free in 2011.

Becoming fit, and keeping that way, is definitely my prioritynumber one. And if I can manage to do that, I think I will beable to achieve all my other ambitions.

"2010 was a stop-and-start one and I had absolutely nomomentum. Just when I thought I was getting back into theswing of things, I got injured again. It was extremelyfrustrating," Singh wrote in his blog.

All eyes will also be on Gaganjeet Bhullar who got hispre-season preparations off to the best possible start when hewon three titles in a row and then had another top-10 lastweek.

"I am currently on a winning streak there is a lot ofpositive energy around me and that helps me come through evenin tough situations. This is the second hat-trick of titles inmy career and it has given me the much-needed momentum aheadof a long and gruelling season," said Bhullar to the mediafollowing his third successive domestic win last week.

Indian stars primed for the event also include RahilGangjee, who recently qualified for the Nationwide. Gangjeelast year had a share of the lead coming into the final round,but faltered on the last day. .

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