Chikka, Randhawa top attractions at J&K Open

Bangalore professional Chikkarangappa S, who won the title at the Panchkula Golf Club last week, Indian star Jyoti Randhawa and Olympian Udayan Mane will be the top attractions when men’s professional golf returns to Kashmir Valley with the J&K Open 2021, to be held here from September 15-18.

The Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI)-sanctioned event will be played at the Royal Springs Golf Course (RSGC) and will carry a prize purse of Rs. 40 lakh.

The other top Indian professionals in the fray include the PGTI Order of Merit leader Karandeep Kochhar, international winners Rashid Khan, Khalin Joshi, and Viraj Madappa. Also in the fray will be leading Indian players Aman Raj, Kshitij Naveed Kaul, and Manu Gandas. The foreign challenge will be led by the Bangladeshi duo of Md Zamal Hossain Mollah and Badal Hossain.

The local challenge will be led by J&K-based players such as Pawan Parihar, Fayaz Ahmed Langoo, and Raghav Wahi as well as amateurs Sanjeev Dugra, Shabir Ahmad Bhat, Zubair Hasan Zargar, Arsalan Rah, Adnan Rah, and Umar Yaqoob Mir, the PGTI and J&K Tourism announced at a press conference here on Tuesday.

The tournament, which will have a field of 125 golfers (118 professionals and seven amateurs), is part of J&K’Tourism’s initiative of promoting golf tourism in the region. J&K has some spectacular golf courses such as Royal Springs Golf Course (Srinagar), Pahalgam Golf Course (Lidder Valley), Gulmarg Golf Club, and Jammu Tawi Golf Course.

“The return of men’s professional golf to the Kashmir valley gives us a great opportunity to showcase J&K as an attractive golfing destination. We look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership with the PGTI,” Sarmad Hafeez, Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Government of Jammu & Kashmir, said.

Uttam Singh Mundy, CEO, PGTI, said, “The staging of the J&K Open 2021 Presented by J&K Tourism is another positive trend for the PGTI since the resumption of the tour in the first week of September. The tournament is in line with our long-term objective of promoting professional golf in different parts of the country in order to grow the sport further.”

The Royal Springs Golf Course is ranked among the most beautiful courses in Asia. The course designed by Robert Trent Jones II has taken full advantage of the undulating foot spurs of the Zabarwan Mountains that descend onto the shores of the famed Dal Lake. The 6,445 metres course at a par of 72, offers a challenge to all levels of players.