New Delhi: Defending champion Digvijay Singh and inaugural edition winner Anirban Lahiri will be among the 150 golfers from 25 countries, who will be competing in the third Panasonic Open golf tournament, scheduled to be held in New Delhi from April 4-7.
Besides Digvijay and Lahiri, Ganganjeet Bhullar, Jyoti Randhawa and Rahil Gangjee are the other Indian golfers likely to be part of the USD 300,000 PGTI-sanctioned Asian Tour event.
The event, at the challenging Delhi Golf Club, will see participation from 25 Asian Tour winners. Asian Tour order of merit number one Thaworn Wiratchant and number 9 Chapchai Nirat from Thailand are also likely to take part in the event.
The top three players of the tournament will be extended invitations to the Asia Pacific Panasonic Open, which will be held in Osaka, Japan in September.
The sport has been making big strides in the country, with some of its golfers producing the results across the world.
"Indian golf has a lot of depth and I will be surprised if we don't have a winner from India in this edition of the tournament. We have world beaters... Jeev (Milkha Singh) has won the Scottish Open last year," Digvijay said.
Lahiri said, "It's good that Indians are winning the trophy. We are fortunate that were getting a good option of getting the experience and move forward with tour."
Digvijay's triumph last year here was his maiden one on the tour and he felt it's always important to get that first win.
"Things change after the first win, the confidence level changes, the swing changes. It's much more easier the second time."
According to Lahiri, the win in the inaugural edition here was "crucial".
"I have won 5-6 times in India before, I have finished on the top-5 a number of times. The Panasonic Open win for me was very crucial. It's like getting the monkey off your back. I am looking forward to achieve higher things in the next few years," Lahiri said.
The tricky Delhi Golf Club, known for its tree-lined fairways and challenging layout, has been a happy hunting ground for local stars and it will be intriguing to see if the international players will be able to wrest the trophy away from local hands this time around.
Manish Sharma, Managing Director, Consumer Product Division, Panasonic India said, "It was a huge success last year and we are very much looking forward to the third edition.
"We will continue our attempt to make valuable additions to the tournament every year to make it more exciting for our stakeholders as well as the audience."
Asian Tour Executive Chairman, Kyi Hla Han said: "India is one of our biggest partners and the Panasonic Open India certainly reflects the strength of our association with golf in India.
"The Asian Tour works closely with the PGTI to develop the game and create playing opportunities for our members and I am certain we will welcome a worthy winner in April."
Delhi Golf Club president I.V.S Juneja said: "The Delhi Golf Club with its rich history of having hosted the first Indian Open in 1964 and the Asian Games in 1982 deems it an honour to host the third Panasonic Open India 2013.
"We are proud to host the Panasonic Open where leading professional golfers from different parts of the world will participate."
Asian Tour Media will beam the event to over 200 countries and 650 million homes.