Golf: Mukesh Kumar favourite to win Chennai Open

Seasoned player Mukesh Kumar will be keen to pocket a record 20th Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) title when the four-day Chennai Open tees off at the Madras Gymkhana Club Annexe here on Thursday.

Mukesh has won all the three PGTI titles in Chennai.

Seasoned player Mukesh Kumar will be keen to pocket a record 20th Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) title when the four-day Chennai Open tees off at the Madras Gymkhana Club Annexe here on Thursday.

The 52-year-old from Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, who won the crown in 2016 here (the event couldn’t be held last year due to rain) looks the favourite again as the greens and fairways suit his style of play.

In fact, Mukesh has won all the three editions of the Chennai Open ('2008, ’09 & ’16).

Apart from Mukesh, prominent golfers such as Shamim Khan, Syed Saqib Ahmed, Shankar Das, M. Dharma, Harendra Gupta and Feroz Ali Mollah will take part. Udayan Mane, who won the Golconda Masters few days back in Hyderabad, will be watched with interest.

There will be six players from Tamil Nadu including Shivanaren Srinivasan, who turned pro this year, participating in the tournament carrying a prize money of Rs. 30 lakh.

Other than Indians, the field will also feature professionals from Sri Lanka, South Africa, Bangladesh and Australia. The winner will take home Rs. 4, 84,950 while the runner-up receives Rs. 3,34,950.

CEO of PGTI Uttam Singh Mundy expressed happiness with the work done by MGC in making the course better. “All players are happy with the course,” he said, at a press conference here on Wednesday.

Mundy said PGTI has applied for world ranking points to be applied for its tournaments, and is hopeful that it will happen soon. “Once that gets done, things will change,” he said, while adding “we have now 26 players on the Asian Tour, an indication that the sport is growing.”

Sanjay Shroff, vice-president of MGC said the installation of Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) at the Club will come as a welcome addition. “There are quite a few procedures remaining. It will become a reality within a year and a half,” said Sanjay.

G. Suresh, captain of MGC links, said the greens are in the best shape ever. “The roughs are not 'up' as usual, the greens are better, we have watered it well,” he said.