The Asian Tour returns to India for the first time since the Covid pandemic began, the inaugural DGC Open welcoming a host of local players, Asian Tour regulars and seven Aussies.
Although this is the first staging of a new event, Delhi Golf Club, the host venue for which the tournament is named has been a regular site for professional golf including the previously named European Tour.
Once again this week will be a standalone event for the Asian Tour, with no event the week prior and nothing following, before the Tour heads to Thailand for back-to-back mixed events at Siam Country Club. The highly touted International Series not listed on the circuit’s schedule at this time.
This week’s host venue having close ties to Australia.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Inaugural event.
COURSE: Delhi Golf Club’s Lodhi Course was initially founded when the decision to move the capital of India from Calcutta to Delhi by the British in the early 1900s, and has recently undergone a renovation at the hands of Gary Player’s design team.
RIGHT: Shiv Kapur is a former winner around Delhi Golf Club and could figure in considerations here. PHOTO: SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images.
The current layout was initially designed by General J.H. Wilkinson and one of this country’s best immediately found it to his liking when playing the new Indian Open he helped develop, Peter Thomson claiming the title in 1964.
Thomson then returned in a design capacity and updated the course in 1977, before Player’s team replaced all 18 greens, renovated some bunkers and updated the irrigation in 2019. The man known as ‘The Black Knight’ on site this week.
Measuring 6,912 yards this week, the par-72 is built on very flat land and as a result does not feature much land movement in the playing surfaces, the main challenge presented off the tee. Heavy foliage lines every hole and has grown to such a point that Victorian Blake Collyer labelled it the “Tightest course I’ve ever played” on his Instagram story during a practice round this week.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Aussie Blake Collyer heads to India following a good week at the Golf Challenge NSW Open, and a busy playing schedule on the PGA Tour of Australasia in the lead up should hold him in good stead.
Collyer has struggled a little for consistency so far this year, but a number of top-10s, including last week, shows he has the game to compete in big events and he is the consummate professional.
Collyer shared the 36-hole lead last week at Concord, and after the tournament was reduced to 54-holes battled back well following a bad start at the 1st hole after a pulled drive to finish in a share of fifth.
Whereas Collyer has played everything at home, compatriot Travis Smyth has played just once (the Vic Open), the New South Welshman instead playing as much as possible in Asia.
Smyth withdrew in his last start in Thailand, so it will be interesting to see how he bounces back after a break. Having watched a fellow John Serhan student win last week at his home state Open, Smyth might have a little added inspiration and he has at times this year shown signs of his prodigious talent.
American Paul Peterson is a former DP World and Asian Tour winner and should feature prominently this week.
The left hander was T5 at the International Series Thailand, his second top-10 from limited starts in 2022, and should be able navigate the tight driving holes at Delhi Golf Club.
Another player suited to the host venue is Indian S.S.P. Chawrasia.
Chawrasia has won around the Lodhi Course previously and enters with some decent form after a top-10 on his home Tour last week.
A frequent winner on the Asian Tour and at home, Shiv Kapur certainly hasn’t had his best stuff of late, but wouldn’t surprise if he found himself in the mix here. Kapur did manage a top-10 in Singapore earlier this year and will be accustomed to the conditions, and is a previous winner at this very venue.
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Jack Munro, Blake Collyer, Travis Smyth, Will Heffernan, Ben Eccles, Cory Crawford and Kevin Yuan.
Round 1: No listed coverage.
Round 2: No listed coverage.
Round 3: Saturday (Fox Sports 506 7pm – 10:30pm)
Round 4: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 6:10pm – 10pm)
*AEDT, check local guides