We have another new event on the European Calendar to sink our teeth into as Delhi Golf Club takes centre stage for the Hero Indian Open.
The Indian Open for the first time has "elevated status" to a co-sanctioned Asian Tour and European Tour event. Despite it's non appearance under the European Tour cameras, Delhi Golf Club has staged numerous events on the Indian and Asian tours including the Panasonic Open, BILT Open, Sail-SBI Open as well as previous editions of the Hero Indian Open.
The market will see a monopoly of Indian players in the betting and with so many events played here by the best of the home contingent, they will have a huge advantage on what by all accounts is a very strategic golf course. India's main hope will lie with European Tour rookie Anirban Lahiri who has already hit the ground running with a win at the Maybank Malaysian Open. He followed that with a top 25 in Thailand and trades at 8.00. According to another home hope, Shiv Kapur, the track is ideal for the likes of Miguel Angel Jimenez - 11.00 - and he sits behind Anirban in the betting.
Marcus Fraser - 23.00 - has found top form after an injury lay off and it didn't take him long to start contending. The Aussie was right there at the back end of last season in Hong Kong on his return and he finished runner up a few weeks later at the Thailand Golf Championship. Renowned for his accuracy and excellence with the flat stick, Delhi GC simply is a track right up Fraser's street.
The course - Delhi GC
We haven't had the privilege of seeing Delhi GC on our screens but while researching the official sites, it's become apparent that this week will see a strategic test of accuracy, with 'A to B' type plotting and positional play from tee to green the premium. Irons rather than drivers from the tee will be a theme as players look to hit narrow fairways lined by bush. The track plays just 7,000 yards to a par of 72 and features undulating greens running only 10.5 on the stimp. There are no water hazards in play.
Three from the pack
I've read a recent article about the aforementioned Shiv Kapur - 26.00 or 6.00 - and that's where I've picked up some of my information. There's no better man to get this info from seeing as Shiv grew up at Dehli GC and has played there most of his days saying: "I’ll be playing the course I’ve played nearly every day of my life since I learned to play golf". Kapur says he will be staying in his own bed, and he knows the course more than any other. The Indian is also sponsored by Hero which is an added incentive here. All that aside, Kapur is firmly on the radar due to progressive 46 - T11 form. The latter finish was last week in Thailand where Shiv was third in driving accuracy. The 33 year old also ranks 8th in this stat in 2015.
Three-time Indian Open champ Jyoti Randhawa - 51.00 or 10.00 - has been somewhat in the doldrums over the last five years or so but signs are that there are a few big performances left in him yet. Jyoti was runner up in Chiangmai at the back end of last year. A top 15 - which included a third round 65 - in Thailand last week is what fired Jyoti into my reckoning here. The Indian clocked up back to back victories at Dehli GC in the mid noughties so knows how to get it done here.
Where Irons off the tee and a premium on positional play are concerned I always cast my attention towards my fellow countryman Damien McGrane - 101.0 or 19.00. McGrane came back onto the radar with a 67 in round two in the True Thailand Classic and often starts fast so he could be one to watch in the first round leader market as well. He is known as a fine links exponent where plotting and controlling the ball is key - this week the test will be similar. Narrow miss in Russia last year for Damien in a secondary event, finishing runner up.
The price on Daniel Samir Chopra - 150.0 or 26.0 - this week looks like he is going under the radar in terms of course and current form along with background. I've used his middle name to show that he is indeed of Indian descent. His father is Indian and Daniel grew up there. Not only that but Dehli Golf Club is where he "learned to play the game". Chopra has just won the Asian Tour Q School on a "demanding course" where he "hardly missed a putt" and also says he now feels like he can win again. Big price and one to watch.
Bet on the Hero Indian Open now