PUNE, February 7: The Amby Valley PGAI Tour embarks on the Western Swing with the Hero Honda Open West 2005, which begins at the new look par-71 Poona Club Golf Course from Tuesday, February 8.
The cream of Indian golf is expected to battle it out for the Rs 1.62 lakh winner’s cheque out of the total prize purse of Rs 10 lakh. The top-10 players in the Money List from the current season, including No. 1 Mukesh Kumar (Mhow), No. 2 Ashok Kumar (Delhi), No. 3 Shiv Kapur (Delhi) and No. 4 Vijay Kumar (Lucknow), who is also the defending champion will tee it up for the prestigious title. The runner-up will be richer by Rs 1.12 lakh.
“We are keen, with the Hero Honda Open West to further the progress made by the sport in this part of the country,” said Col SK Sinha, General Manager Operations, Amby Valley Sahara Lake City. “Amby Valley has set an example by taking under their wings a sport like golf. Indian golfers have been performing the world over against the stiffest of competition. Amby Valley has recognized these feats and taken it upon themselves to further the interests of the sport in India”, he added.
The Hero Honda Open West forms the 13th leg of the Amby Valley PGAI Tour 2004-05 season. “We are glad to host the annual event. The performances of our players in India and abroad has prompted us to continue with the sponsorship of the Hero Honda Open West,” said Mr. Sanjay Bhan, Regional Manager, Hero Honda Motors Limited. “Like every year, I think we will get to see some great action on the course,” he added.
“We take pride in hosting this prestigious event. It is our endeavour to give the best of playing conditions to the professionals,” said Mr. Anil Seolekar, Captain of the Poona Club (Golf) Limited Course, who has been the driving force behind the renovation and the beautification of the course.
Ashok Kumar, the hottest player on the Amby Valley PGAI Tour this season, with five victories, which incidentally came back-to-back, will be looking to regain his top spot on the Order of Merit, after Mukesh Kumar overtook the 22-year-old with the victory in the Eastern India Open, the last leg of the Eastern Swing of the Amby Valley PGAI Tour.
Apart from Ashok Kumar, the other winners on the tour include Mukesh who has won three titles while rookie Shiv Kapur, who recently earned an Asian Tour card, has two titles to his credit. Rafick Ali and Vijay Kumar both have won once each.
As many as 38 players have already crossed the Rs 100,000 earnings mark with both Kumars – Mukesh and Ashok having amassed more than Rs. One Million in prize money. With a minimum of eight events yet to be played with a total purse worth Rs 18 million, the professionals can look forward to end the season with a bulged wallet!
The Poona Club Golf Course has been completely refurbished and wears a new look for the tournament. It now possesses one of the finest driving ranges in the country as well as a huge new putting green. The greens which are true and fast are one of the best in India and will surely test even the most hardened professionals.