Strong field for PGTI Cochin Masters

The fifth edition of the PGTI Cochin Masters features a strong field of 115 players from across six countries.

Delhi's Shamim Khan, the highest earner in national pro golf tour, and Honey Baisoya (left) will be among the stars to watch in the PGTI Cochin Masters which begins on Wednesday.   -  Stan Rayan

He is the highest earner ever in Indian golf’s pro tour but Delhi’s Shamim Khan will be up against a very strong field in the PGTI Cochin Masters which opens at the CIAL Golf Club, Nedumbassery, on Wednesday.

Defending champion Mukesh Kumar from Madhya Pradesh, Delhi’s young Honey Baisoya whose style of play suits the CIAL Club’s long course, and a bunch of strong Sri Lankans like Anura Rohana and Mithun are in the field for the four-day event which offers Rs. 40 lakh prize money.

With the PGTI becoming an ‘open tour’ from this year, which means that there will be no limit to the number of foreigners allowed (only 15 were permitted earlier), the Kerala event, now in its fifth edition, has attracted players from South Africa, Australia, Swaziland apart from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

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With the first round being played in Bangladesh last week, the Kochi event on the 18-hole course will also be the India opener for the national pro tour which will have eight events in the first half of the season.

“This course has matured nicely and it’s a very challenging one with long corners but it also suits my game,” said Honey Baisoya who was fourth in the Order of Merit last season, on Tuesday.

The event has attracted 115 players, including a dozen rookies. “Normally, we have this event in April, this is the first time we are having it in winter which should offer favourable conditions for the golfers,” said A. M. Shabeer, the Executive Director, CIAL (Cochin International Airport Ltd).

After the main rounds, the Pro-Am event where the pros will play alongside amateurs, will be played on Sunday.

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