Chandigarh, March 26 2008: PGTI member Harendra Gupta will start the inaugural Centurion Bank of Punjab Open Golf Championship as one of the favourites since the venue for the event, the Chandigarh Golf Club not only happens to be his home course but also one of his happy hunting grounds.
“I feel very confident heading into the Centurion Bank of Punjab Open as I have played most of my golf at the Chandigarh Golf Club and therefore have the advantage of local knowledge. Besides I also have a good record here, having won the 2004 and 2005 editions of Hero Golf Chandigarh at this course.
“The key would be to hit accurate tee shots as this course is long and has narrow fairways. One must also be very consistent with the putter” said Gupta. Interestingly, Gupta had won the 2004 Hero Golf Chandigarh (a professional event) title while he was still an amateur. However, his last professional win came at the 2006 IOC XtraPremium Masters in Digboi.
The 23-year-old, who is currently ninth on the PGTI Order of Merit, added, “I’m looking forward to putting up a good performance in Chandigarh since I have played some very good golf in the recent past after having worked on my swing. I now feel that I can perform much better than the 2006-07 season. In fact, last year (2006-07) my ranking on the PGTI Order of Merit was 18th and I had recorded three top 10s out of 10 starts. This season I have already had three top 10s out of six starts.”
In the 2007-08 PGTI season, Gupta’s three top 10 finishes were recorded at the IOC XtraPremium Masters (third), the Tata Open (second) and the SRF All-India Professional Golf Matchplay Championship (tied fifth).
The Chandigarh-based golfer, who has made steady progress in Indian professional golf over the last few years, recalls his humble beginnings in the sport. “I was 15 years old when I took to caddying at the Chandigarh Golf Club in 1999. From then on golf became my life. I used the money I earned as a caddie to buy a second-hand golf set. I then started practicing hard and as a result won five events at the junior level in 2000. Thereafter, I dominated the amateur circuit from 2001 to 2003 before turning professional in 2004,” said Gupta.
Harendra Gupta will lead a powerful local challenge at the inaugural Centurion Bank of Punjab Open Golf Championship. The other Chandigarh golfers in the field include Harmeet Kahlon, Amandeep Johl, Uttam Singh Mundy, Amritinder Singh, brothers Ranjit Singh and Randhir Singh Ghotra, Gurbaaz Mann, A S Lehal and Sujjan Singh.