Stage set for Amby Valley Asian Masters
Pune, May 10 (UNI) Indian golfers have a chance to improve their record at home as they tee up for USD 400,000 inaugural Amby Valley Asian Masters at the Amby Valley Golf course.
Harmeet Kahlon, whose lone Asian Tour win came at the 2002 Hero Honda Masters, is looking to add to that with others like Gaurav Ghei, Vijay Kumar, Feroz Ali and Ali Sher, who won the 1991 and 1993 Indian Open, also in the field.
Kahlon, regular on the Asian Tour, was happy after his first round at the lovely course. ''I'm happy to be here. Yesterday was my first round and I feel proud to see a course like this in India.'' It's a great challenge. To put up a USD 400,000 event is great for Indian golf and the Asian Tour, he said.
Feroz Ali, who won in 1998 and since then has played on Asian Tour events outside India, has always done well in Asian Tour events in India.
He has been in top ten more than a few times.
''Right now, I feel I am in great shape and can pull it off. It is an open field and I have just won two events recently on Indian Tour,'' said Feroz.
Winner of the only pro event at the Amby Valley, Vijay Kumar, is looking equally confident. ''I saw the course. It is more difficult than last time with the rough fairly high. However, I must say the course is truly international in nature now,'' said Vijay, who won the 2002 Indian Open and also played some events on Asian Tour.
Amandeep Johl, ranked 17th on the UBS Asian Tour Order of Merit, is hoping to build on the second place from Pakistan and the third place from Maekyung Open a fortnight ago.
S S P Chowrasia, who has a lovely swing and a very solid chip and putt style, could well be one of the dark horses. Tied second last year at the domestic event on this course, Chowrasia has two wins this year. ''I have often contemplated playing on the Asian Tour and am looking forward to having a go at Macau and Philippines after the Amby Valley Asian Masters. I like this course as it demands accuracy,'' he said. Ghei, sixth last year at the domestic event, feels the course is more difficult -- an opinion echoed by all others who have had a taste of this course earlier.
Apart from firm favourite Terry Pilkadris of Australia, a man in form at Amby Valley City is Malaysia's Ian Steel who contended at the SK Telecom Open in Korea last week before finishing seventh and was tied 12th at the previous week's Maekyung Open where he won a BMW car for a hole in one. He could well gun for another car, as Chevrolet has put up a car for the first ace on the par-3 tenth hole this week.
UNI IS MAZ CH PM2233