DGC Open: Renovated course set to challenge Tour regulars

The inaugural edition of the USD 500,000 DGC Open begins on Thursday.

Siddikur Rahman, winner of the 2013 Indian Open and a five-time runner-up, will be among the favourites to clinch the title.   -  Sandeep Saxena

After a well thought out renovation and an unprecedented lull due to the pandemic, the Delhi Golf Club is finally ready to face the biggest test to its preparedness when the inaugural edition of the USD 500,000 DGC Open begins on Thursday.

Returning to this picturesque golfing property with a storied past, some regulars are sure to notice that a few fairways stand reshaped, some greens are relaid and the length of a few holes altered. The new variety of grass used could also add to the challenge. Notwithstanding Gary Player's redesign, tree-lined fairways continue to remind golfers not to be too aggressive off the tee.

After three years, some of the regulars from the Asian Tour are happily back at the DGC, home to the country’s flagship event - the Indian Open - for many years.

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In the fray, the highest ranked player on the Asian Tour Order of Merit is South Africa’s Ian Snyman, holding the sixth spot while the Indian challenge is headed by the 13th ranked Gaganjeet Bhullar, a nine-time winner on the Tour.

An eternal favourite on this course is Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman, the winner of the 2013 Indian Open and a five-time runner-up here. If one were to narrow down the title-contenders, apart from Snyman and Bhullar, names like Shiv Kapur, Paul Peterson (USA), Rory Hie (Indonesia), Khalin Joshi, Rahil Gangjee, S. S. P. Chawrasia and Rashid Khan come to mind. A strong finish for Kshitij Naveed Kaul, the top-ranked player on the domestic PGTI Tour, cannot be ruled out.

Also part of a 19-player group of Tour champions are two former Order of Merit winners, Jyoti Randhawa (2002) and Jeev Milkha Singh (2006 & 2008).

In the midst are eight players who have won Asian Tour titles at this course. Among them, at 51 years and 126 days, is the 2016 Panasonic Open winner Mukesh Kumar who is also the oldest in the 138-player field.

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