Kapur leads a strong Indian challenge in Mauritius

In-form Shiv Kapur leads a strong Indian contingent at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, where South Africa’s George Coetzee makes his return to the island paradise of Mauritius to defend his title.

Shiv Kapur has been winless on Asian Tour since 2005 and is still looking for his maiden success on the European Tour.   -  Getty Images

In-form Shiv Kapur leads a strong Indian contingent at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, where South Africa’s George Coetzee makes his return to the island paradise of Mauritius to defend his title.

Kapur, winless on Asian Tour since 2005 and still looking for his maiden success on the European Tour, has been in form, notching up top-10 finishes in Hero Indian Open and Panasonic Open in Japan. Other Indians will also launch their challenge here.

Rashid Khan, Chiragh Kumar and Arjun Atwal have all won in last 18 months, while veteran Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa have enough pedigree to be a challenge in any event.

Then there are the likes of Rahil Gangjee, whose sole win on Asian Tour came in 2004, Himmat Rai, a one-time winner, Gaganjeet Bhullar, a multiple winner on Asian Tour, besides youngster Khalin Joshi and Shubhankar Sharma, who has a special invite.

“I have been playing well and it’s just that a question of being able to string those good rounds together. I have been making errors, just need to cut them down,” Kapur said.

Jeev, one of the legends of Asian golf, who has about 20 titles around the world, said, “I feel I can still get into the mix and then anything can happen. This is a wonderful place and I am feeling nice and rested, so am looking at a good week.”

Gangjee, whose mother Nazirah is from Mauritius, has brought her along this time. He was 11th last time, but that was on a different island.

“I am really looking forward to playing in Mauritius. The game is as good as it can be right now. My mother will be coming to see me play again this year so I am really excited. A bit of ‘home’ support should do it,” said the 37-year-old.

A year ago, Coetzee won the title in dramatic fashion last year, making birdie at the second extra hole to claim the title from Thorbjorn Olesen.

Coetzee suffered a serious ankle injury surfing last year, and the defending champion says despite the injury, he’s been back in the water enjoying his time off.

“Yeah the last six weeks have been fun. I went surfing for a few weeks and broke a couple of boards, luckily no ankles. I went fishing a week ago, had a great time with Richard Sterne and Charl Schwartzel and a couple other mates. It was really nice to just get out there and do stuff and have a good time instead of focusing and only talking golf.”

The Ernie Els designed Four Season Golf Club will prove to be a battle against the wind this week, and Coetzee says it will prove to be a challenge to score if the wins stay up.