8th edition of Panasonic Open India tees off Thursday

NEW DELHI: The Panasonic Open India is set to deliver another exciting week of top-notch golfing action when it gets underway for its eighth consecutive edition on the Asian Tour starting Thursday.

The highly-rated event, which forms part of the unique Panasonic Swing, will see leading stars from India challenging for top honours against a strong international field made up of players from 17 other countries at the venerable Delhi Golf Club.

Sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), the Panasonic Open India will once again offer a prize purse of $400,000 when it returns to its regular venue for the eighth time in succession.

Since its inception in 2011, the Panasonic Open India has welcomed worthy champions in Anirban Lahiri, Digvijay Singh, Australian Wade Ormsby, the only non-Indian to win the tournament, SSP Chawrasia, Chiragh Kumar, Mukesh Kumar and defending champion Shiv Kapur.

Kapur topped the inaugural Panasonic Swing ranking with total points of 2922.90 last year, thanks largely to his victory at the Panasonic Open India, which was his first Asian Tour victory on home soil and second win in 2017.

The 36-year-old Indian would go on to win his fourth Asian Tour title at the Royal Cup in Thailand one month later and become the first and only player to win three times on the region’s premier Tour that season.

Kapur will spearhead the elite field alongside compatriots Chiragh Kumar and Viraj Madappa, who became the youngest Indian winner on the Asian Tour following his breakthrough in August, as well as two-time Asian Tour winners Jazz Janewattananond and Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand.

Manish Sharma, president and CEO, Panasonic India & South Asia, said: “The Panasonic Open India has enjoyed huge success over the last seven years and produced many worthy champions. We are looking forward to this legacy taking centre stage this year as well. The tournament has played a key role in growing the game of golf in Asia over the years and it is our constant endeavour to provide a strong platform for players to excel.”

Cho Minn Thant, Asian Tour chief operating officer, said: “On behalf of our talented players, I would like to extend our fullest appreciation to Panasonic for its unwavering support of the Panasonic Open India which goes a very long way in promoting and developing the sport in India as well as across the region.

“The Asian Tour is honoured to forge a strong partnership with the PGTI, who shares the same vision in growing the game by creating more playing opportunities for our members. We are pleased to work alongside Panasonic, PGTI and the Delhi Golf Club once again to ensure another successful week of golf at the Panasonic Open India.”

Uttam Singh Mundy, CEO, PGTI, said: “Golf in India has been on the rise in recent years and this is not possible without the support of great sponsors like Panasonic. Anirban Lahiri won his first Asian Tour title at the Panasonic Open India in 2011 before making his mark on the international stage. Many other Indian golfers, including the likes of Shubhankar Sharma, Rashid Khan, Chiragh Kumar, Ajeetesh Sandhu and Viraj Madappa, have followed in Anirban's footsteps by achieving success at the international level in the following years. We look forward to seeing more Indian golfers continuing this trend by emerging as champions on the global stage in the coming years.”

The Panasonic Swing ranking, which initiated by the Asian Tour and the Panasonic Corporation to reinforce Panasonic’s support for professional golf across the region, is based on an aggregate point ranking earned by players at selected tournaments in Asia.

The second edition of the 2018/19 Panasonic Swing began at the 2018 Thailand Open in June with Panuphol enjoying the early lead on the rankings following his home victory. It will feature tournaments in India, Malaysia and Indonesia before concluding at the Panasonic Open Japan in 2019.