Free Press Journal

Indians gun for inaugural AfrAsia Mauritius Open golf


Domaine de Bel Ombre (Mauritius): Indian golfers, who won six titles on Asian Tour last year, will start as early favourites at the inaugural approximately USD 1.1 million AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open golf tournament which begins here tomorrow. Rashid Khan, winner of two titles in 2014, Arjun Atwal winner of the event in Dubai, and Gaganjeet Bhullar, who has five titles to his name, but none since 2013, will all be hoping to strike it big as the event gets underway in this lovely new venue.

The other Indians in the field include Shiv Kapur and Rahil Gangjee, who won their first and only Asian Tour titles back in 2005 and 2004, respectively. Rashid, a former Asian Games team silver medallist, who has set his sights at the Olympics, said: “It’s been great, it’s my first time to Mauritius and I’m enjoying it. The view from the resort is amazing and I’m looking forward to the week. I think it’s important to see such new events come on board the Asian Tour.

“It’s really good that we have new tournaments in different countries this year. It gives us a chance to get to know the countries and it’s really good for the future of the game.

“It’s a good sign that Asian Tour players are winning on European Tour sanctioned events, like Anirban (Lahiri) who has done so. It’s a good chance for anyone. If we can achieve this it will help take us up to the next level,” he said. Bhullar, who is making a comeback from an injury last year, added: “It’s a great week. I came to the golf course yesterday, played a few holes and it’s a beautiful layout. The course is very picturesque, lots of beautiful holes. I’m hitting the ball good in the past three months. I’m trying to get it right, it is just that I need to sort out a few things in my mind. Struggled a bit with my short game last month but it’s starting to get strong again.

“One of the reasons was the injury last year. I have fully recovered and fully prepared for this year. The wrist caused some problem with the short game but I’m working hard and getting back to what I used to be with the short game.” On Lahiri’s, who had won two titles this year in co-sanctioned events, he said: “I’m very excited to see what Anirban (Lahiri) is doing internationally. Good to see the Indian flag waving at the WGCs and Majors. He deserves to be in that spot. He’s been playing well in the last one-and-a-half years and has been very consistent. I think he deserves the place in the world’s top-50.”