NEW DELHI, SEPT 25: Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri will lead India at the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf 2013, scheduled to be held from November 21 to 24 at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia.
Gaganjeet Bhullar, currently ranked 150 in the world, the highest among Indian professionals, and Anirban Lahiri, the next highest ranked Indian professional at 191, will both be making their debut at the World Cup.
Gaganjeet Bhullar, who was recently conferred the Arjuna Award, India’s second-highest sporting honour, has posted a couple of good finishes in 2013. The 25-year-old from Kapurthala was the runner-up at the European Tour’s Avantha Masters earlier this year. He also claimed tied eighth place at the European Challenge Tour’s Gujarat Kensville Challenge. Bhullar, a winner of five international events, is currently placed second on the Asian Tour Order of Merit and 105th on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai rankings.
Anirban Lahiri, the other member of the Indian team, has enjoyed an excellent season on the Asian Tour in 2013. The 26-year-old Bangalore lad won the SAIL-SBI Open this year and followed that up with two more top-10 results including a runner-up finish at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters. Lahiri, a winner of three international titles, is currently in seventh position on the Asian Tour Order of Merit. Anirban also has two wins to his credit in the current PGTI season.
Mr. Padamjit Sandhu, Director, PGTI, said, “Gaganjeet and Anirban have excelled and won laurels for the country at the international level in recent years. This is another opportunity for them to showcase their talent at the highest level of the sport. With the criteria for qualification and playing format being the same for the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, a good result for our professionals at the World Cup will prove a huge morale-booster for our chances at the Olympics. We wish Gaganjeet and Anirban all the best.”
Incidentally, Bhullar and Lahiri were part of the Indian quartet that won the silver medal in the team event at the 2006 Doha Asian Games.
Beginning in 2013, the World Cup of Golf becomes primarily an individual event with a team component. The 60-player field will be selected based on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) with up to two players per country allowed to qualify (four per country if they are within the top 15 of the OWGR). The format will return to 72 holes of stroke play, with the individuals competing for $7 million of the $8 million total purse. OWGR points will be awarded for the first time. The top two-ranked players from each country will compete for the team portion using combined stroke play scores. The individual portion is similar to what will be used at the 2016 Olympics.
India had recorded its best performance at the World Cup of Golf back in 2005 when the team comprising of Jyoti Randhawa and Arjun Atwal had finished a creditable ninth.