Bengaluru: The stage is set for the best talents of the European Challenge Tour and the PGTI to go head to head at the inaugural Duncan Taylor Black Bull Challenge which will be held at the KGA in Bengaluru from March 23 – 26.
The tournament co-sanctioned by the Challenge Tour and PGTI, will witness the return of the Challenge Tour to Indian shores after a decade. The last Challenge Tour event staged in India was held in Ahmedabad in February 2013.
The excitement is palpable as the PGTI also returns to the world-class KGA after three years. The field of 156 players including 153 professionals and three amateurs will feature 52 Indian professionals.
The field is being headlined by top Indian pros Udayan Mane, Khalin Joshi, Yuvraj Singh Sandhu, current PGTI Order of Merit leader Sachin Baisoya and Aman Raj, as well as leading Challenge Tour pros such as Irishman John Murphy, Frenchman Ugo Coussaud and Italian Matteo Manassero.
The impressive Indian contingent is eager to make a mark on their home turf this week.
Khalin Joshi, an international winner and former PGTI Order of Merit champion, playing at his home course, said, “My recent form has not been good but I’m happy to be back home and playing an event at KGA after over four years. I’ve made the most of the opportunity by spending a few days with my coach working on some aspects of my swing.
“The course is playing great thanks to all the work put in by the team here at KGA. It’s been very encouraging to have Sir Nick Faldo here to launch the event. The Challenge Tour events in India present a terrific opportunity for all of us Indian golfers to prove our mettle in a highly competitive field.”
Olympian Udayan Mane, a former PGTI Order of Merit champion and another golfer with a strong Bengaluru and KGA connection, said, “Even though I’m based in Pune now, I grew up playing at KGA as I learnt and started my golf here with my father and brother. So I have a lot of memories from KGA and it does feel like coming back home. There’s a huge comfort level playing at KGA as I’ve won a pro event here in the past and also hold the record for the lowest winning total at this course. My caddie is also from here.
“It’s always good when the talent gets circulated like it will this week and on a golf course like KGA which has scoring opportunities for every kind of player. It’s going to be an exciting contest.”
Aman Raj, a winner on the PGTI earlier this month, said, “I’m in a good zone at the moment, having ended a long victory drought recently. I’ve reaped the rewards for hanging in there and being patient.
“It’s always been a pleasure playing here at the KGA. The fairways feel like carpets. I’m really looking forward to competing against the top names from the Challenge Tour.”