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Shubhankar, Anriban to lead Indian campaign in $1.75 million Hero Indian Open

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Asian Tour No. 1 Shubhankar Sharma and former champion Anirban Lahiri will spearhead the Indian challenge in the star-studded golfer’s field in the $1.75 million Hero Indian Open to be played on the Gary Player layout at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurugram near here from March 28-31.
 
The foreign challenge will be led by, among others, Scottish Open champion Brandon Stone, Andrew Johnston – last year’s runner-up of the Hero Indian Open , and Bernd Wiesberger, winner of four European Tour titles.
 
Two-time winner SSP Chawrasia, the resurgent duo of Shiv Kapur and Rahil Gangjee, and youngsters Ajeetesh Sandhu, Viraj Madappa, Khalin Joshi and S Chikkarangappa are likely to add to the Indian challenge in the  tournament.
 
Last year, Andrew Johnston came within a whisker of winning the tournament, rallying from a two-shot deficit in the final round to get into a play-off, before losing to Englishman Matt Wallace.
 
This time, Johnston will be aiming to lift the coveted winner’s trophy, besides treating himself to his favourite Indian dishes.
 
Golf fans will also get to see Brandon Stone, who won the 2018 Scottish Open with a stunning final round of 10-under 60.
 
Also in the fray will be Bernd Wiesberger -- the most successful Austrian player on the European Tour -- who beat European Tour No. 1 Tommy Fleetwood in a play-off at the 2017 Shenzen International. Wiesberger has also been a member of the past two winning European teams at the EurAsia Cup.
 
With less than a couple of weeks to go before the tournament, the entries are still coming in.
 
This edition of the HIO will be the first event since the passing away of its inaugural winner, the legendary Peter Thomson, who also instrumental in making the Indian Open popular.
 
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Thomson, five-time British Open winner, also won the Indian Open three times in 1964, 1966 and 1976. Thomson, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988, passed away on June 20, 2018, at the age of 88.
 
The HIO has provided a superb platform for home grown talent to showcase its abilities alongside the top global stars and take a faster path to stardom. The event has nine Indian winners, who among them have won the title 13 times. Since Hero took over the sponsorship in 2005, the previous 13 editions have produced six Indian winners.
 
The Indian winners have been: P.G. Sethi (amateur - 1965); Ali Sher (1991 and 1993); Feroze Ali (1998), Arjun Atwal (1999), Jyoti Randhawa (2000, 2006, 2007); Vijay Kumar (2002); Chinnaswamy Muniyappa ((2009); Anirban Lahiri (2015), SSP Chawrasia (2016, 2017).
 
Talking to mediapersons here on Thursday, J. Narain, Advisor (Sports), Hero MotoCorp, said, “It is great to see such a strong Indian contingent and a world class field at the Hero Indian Open 2019. This will certainly attract more youngsters and budding golfers to come and watch the tournament, which in turn will contribute immensely towards the long-term growth of the game.”
 
"This edition of the Hero Indian Open - golf’s flagship tournament in the country and the longest running international sports event in India – will see some of the most well-known golfers from around the world vie for top honors” he added.
 
Asian Tour Chief Operating Officer Cho Minn Thant said, "Since its inauguration in 1964, the Hero Indian Open has a long history of boasting a stellar field and propelling the careers of the finest talents in the country including tournament winners S. S. P. Chawrasia and Anirban Lahiri."
 
India’s number one Shubhankar Sharma came close to winning his National Open with a record-breaking 64 in the second round last year, and the reigning Habitat for Humanity Standings winner is now excelling on the global stage.
 
The 2019 edition will be the 14th consecutive year that Hero MotoCorp Ltd, the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer and one of the biggest corporate promoters of sports around the world, is supporting the tournament.
 
NNN
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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