Golf: Indian men, women ready for first-of-its-kind Mixed Pro Challenge

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Excitement is palpable among Indian men and women professionals that will be participating in the first-of-its-kind Ballantines Golf Championship – Mixed Pro Challenge on Tuesday.

The tournament will feature men and women professional golfers from the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) and the Women’s Golf Association of India (WGAI).

The event which will be played over 36-holes at the DLF Golf and Country Club, Gary Player course and has a unique format with 18 teams participating comprising one lady professional and two gentlemen professionals each.

It is a Team Strokeplay event where all players must hole out on every hole. The two best scores out of three on each hole (hole-by-hole) would count towards the team score.

India’s leading professionals competing at the event include Udayan Mane, Khalin Joshi, Karandeep Kochhar, Yuvraj Singh Sandhu, Veer Ahlawat, Kshitij Naveed Kaul, Gaurika Bishnoi, Vani Kapoor, Jahanvi Bakshi and Ridhima Dilawari, to name a few.

Yuvraj Singh Sandhu, a two-time winner on the PGTI who is currently second on the PGTI Order of Merit, was all praise for this new initiative, the PGTI said in a release on Monday.

The 25-year-old Yuvraj said, “Both men and women professionals coming together to play an event is a great news for the Indian golf fraternity. It’s the ideal platform for men and women professionals to interact with each other. We will get to learn about each other’s tours.

“I’m looking forward to my first mixed event. Sharing the team’s responsibility is a very different feeling altogether. It is going to ‘e fun but you’re also responsible towards your team.

“My team members are Gaurika Bishnoi and Sunit Chowrasia. This is Gaurika’s home course so we’re depending on her. Sunit is a great ball-striker and putter. So I feel our team stands a very good chance. The challenge at this course would be placing the ball well in the fairway,” he said.

Ridhima Dilawari, a multiple-time winner on the WGAI, who plays a lot at the host venue the DLF Golf & Country Club, is one of the leading women professionals competing this week.

Ridhima said, “I’m looking forward to getting an opportunity to play with the guys and learn a few things from them. A big thank you to Ballantines for putting together this event. I’m really excited to be a part of this event.

“The format’s very different from what we’re usually playing. We’re usually focused on our own game so it will be nice to partner with others and bounce off their energy.

“My team partners are Mukesh Kumar and Digv’jay Singh, two of India’s golfing greats. It’s an honour to play alongside them and hope I can pick up a few things from them.

“DLF is one of the top tracks in the country, so it’s always fun to come back here and play,” Ridhima was quoted as saying in a release.

The seasoned Amardeep Malik, a two-time winner on the PGTI, is also excited about teeing it up at this unique event.

Amardeep said, “It’s a fun format with a different set of challenges. All players are looking forward to these two days of intense team competition. It would be interesting to see how this goes.

“Abhinav Lohan and Rhea Saravanan are my team partners. We played our practice round together today and tried to figure out the best way to go ahead with our game. Our team strategy is to just attack, so we’re going to play solid attacking golf.

“A big shout out to Ballantine’s. They’ve done a fantastic job in making this event possible,” he said.

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