Panasonic Open: Joshi, Kapur sound confident despite contrasting forms

Defending champion Khalin Joshi and Shiv Kapur, who finished second in last week’s Thailand Open, will go into the Panasonic Open as the favourites.

(L-R) Defending champion Khalin Joshi, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Rory Hie and Shiv Kapur pose with the Panasonic Open golf trophy in Gururam on Tuesday.   -  Special Arrangement

Khalin Joshi is back to defend the Panasonic Open title but poor form and a new course can combine to make his job that much more difficult this week.

When the $400,000 Asian Tour event opens here on Thursday, Shiv Kapur is expected to be a better bet for the host since he finished tied second in last week’s Thailand Open after making the play-off.

Joshi, last year’s surprise winner at the Delhi Golf Club course, candidly admitted his poor form leading into this event. “I haven’t had the best of the year so far. But finally, I’m finding some form in my game.

“The Panasonic Open win last year obviously helped me. I haven’t really capitalised on all the opportunities this season, but looking forward to starting it from this week. The game is feeling good so looking forward to having a good week and finishing the year on a high,” said the defending champion.

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Talking about his past experience of playing on the Classic Golf and Country Club course, Joshi said, “I have played well on this golf course throughout my career, be it junior, amateur or professional, so I have good memories of this course. I really like the track so I'm looking forward to gaining some confidence. Overall this course really suits my game.”

Kapur was far more confident: “Last week, I was at a golf course where I’ve had success in the past. Two years ago Gaganjeet and I tied for second place there and obviously I had my first Asian Tour win there. So anytime you go to a golf course where you’ve had some success, it gives you a lot of confidence.”

He added: “And hopefully, I can carry that confidence that I gained last week into this week. It was obviously disappointing not to win, but standing on the 14th tee in the final round, I was five or six shots back. So, didn't really think I had a shot. So to even get into the playoff was a bonus.”

In September, Indonesia’s Rory Hie won the Classic title here with an impressive 21-under 267. He will again be expected to among the front-runners. “I feel I have been learning a lot since my win here. I have got into events that I normally wouldn't have gone into without the win and getting to play with good golfers and good courses. The course is definitely playing different than six weeks ago. You can now actually see the ball from fifty yards out and it seems to be a really good
condition,” he said.

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