Noida:With top professionals like Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Jeev Milkha Singh in attendance, PGTI's Rs 80 lakh BILT Open starting on Thursday promises to provide an exciting finale to India's domestic golf season.
The tournament may be without defending champion Lam Chih Bing of Singapore who won the Asian Tour's season-ending Volvo Masters of Asia last week, but it is not short of stars with Jyoti Randhawa and Shiv Kapur among those who will tee off at Noida's Jaypee Greens.
"It's great to have Jeev finally playing on the PGTI," said Randhawa, who won the inaugural edition in 2006.
"Playing here helps us to perform better abroad. PGTI is the breeding ground for us to do well outside," he added.
Jeev said he would be aiming to cap the "best season of his career", in which he won four titles on four different tours, with a good show here.
"Golf is the fastest growing sport in the country and tournaments like these will help," he said.
Other top names in the field include veteran Gaurav Ghei and PGTI Order of Merit leader Mukesh Kumar, who has won four domestic titles this season.
"I have seen the course, the greens look fantastic and we can expect a winning total of upto 18-under," said Mukesh, who has won four titles on the PGTI, said.
The winner of the tournament will be richer by Rs 12,93,200 and that is another reason why top stars have decided to play the event.
"The money is obviously very good," said Shiv. "The BILT Open marks a fitting finale to an exciting season. In the year gone by, the number of tournament went up as compared to 2007 and the total purse for the year also increased. The season also saw a tie-up with the Asian Tour which was a major achievement," added PGTI Director Padamjit Sandhu.
While Jeev is riding high on a brilliant season, the same cannot be said of Randhawa, Shiv and Indian Masters champion SSP Chowrasia, who at best, had ordinary performances to show.
"We have all competed against each other abroad, it would be great to play against each other at home," said Shiv, who will tee off with Jeev and Mukesh.
Randhawa is paired with Chowrasia and Shamim Khan.