BENGALURU : The leading Indian players in the field including international winners Rashid Khan, Khalin Joshi, Viraj Madappa, and Chikkarangappa will be among the top contenders in The Challenge 2023 to be held from March 28-31.
The tournament, co-sanctioned by the Challenge Tour and the TATA Steel PGTI, carries a prize purse of US$ 300,000 and will be the second event in two weeks to be played at the world-class Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) golf course.
The event will feature a field of 156 players including 153 professionals and three amateurs. There are 55 Indians in the fray.
Among the other players in contention will be current PGTI Order of Merit leader Om Prakash Chouhan, who won last week at KGA, as well as Olympian Udayan Mane, Veer Ahlawat, Aman Raj and Yuvraj Singh Sandhu.
The leading players from the Challenge Tour in action this week include Frenchman Ugo Coussaud, Scotsman Craig Howie and Italians Matteo Manassero and Lorenzo Scalise, to name a few.
Prithviraj Urs, President, K"A, said, "We're delighted to be partnering with the Challenge Tour and the PGTI in launching The Challenge presented by KGA as part of our Golden Jubilee celebrations. With big names participating and high-quality golf on display, this tournament is a great opportunity to provide exposure to KGA's junior and amateur golfers and also showcase our course to an international audience."
Jamie Hodges, Head of Challenge Tour, said, "I am delighted that we will remain at Karnataka Golf Association for The Challenge presented by KGA, our second Indian event on the 2023 Road to Mallorca.
"We thoroughly enjoyed our first visit to KGA last week for the Duncan Taylor Black Bull Challenge and we are looking forward to working with the team again to deliver a memorable event," he said.
Uttam Singh Mundy, CEO, PGTI, said, "We thank the Challenge Tour and KGA for their support in launching The Challenge presented by KGA and helping put together a lucrative two-week Bengaluru leg on the PGTI this season. We look forward to the club's continued support in the years to come.
"After an enthralling contest last week, we await yet another week of high-intensity competition at the world-class KGA with the best on the Challenge Tour and the PGTI striving for the top honour," he said.
Om Prakash Chouhan, the winner at KGA last week, said, "My win last week is a huge motivating factor for me to perform well this week too. My game is in great shape and I want to make the most of this good form therefore I'm eager to tee it up in an even stronger field this week."
Rashid Khan, one of the top Indian names in the field this week and fresh from a recent runner-up finish at an international event in Delhi two weeks back, said, "I feel my game is getting better with each passing week. However, I'm still working on addressing a few issues with my driving as driving and putting will be key this week.
"I have some good memories from my victory last year at the Asian Games Trials held at KGA. I'll look to use that to my advantage this week. It's a very good field at this event with many top names from the Challenge Tour competing so it will be a tough contest for the Indians," he added.
Italy's Lorenzo Scalise, one of the top foreign players in the field this week who finished fourth at KGA last week, said, "Last week was my third top-five finish in a row and it proves to me that I'm on the right track.
"The goal is to be in contention as many times as I can throughout the year and hopefully, I can do that again this week. I have loved being in India. The people are awesome, the golf course is amazing, and I like the place. It's been good so far and I'm happy we are playing another week at the Karnataka Golf Association," he added.