The top finisher on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), Manu Gandas was the first beneficiary of the domestic tour’s agreement with the DP World (formerly European) Tour providing for one slot on its roster on an annual basis.
Gandas, who won a record six tournament on his way to topping the Tata Steel PGTI Order of Merit 2022 will be playing in his second Hero Indian Open after 2018 when he missed the cut, and is very obviously excited at the prospect.
The 26-year-old, who also pocketed a previously untouched mark of Rs 88.5 lakh, trains at the DLF Golf Academy, making him very much a local boy and he is keen to make the most of the opportunity. “This is my home course and I play on it a lot so that will definitely give me an advantage. I also train here at the DLF Golf Academy with Anitya Chand so I know both the layout and its requirements quite well.
“But at the end of the day you have to play your own game and take it day by day even if it is a familiar territory. At the end of the day, of course, it is just another week of professional golf so in one sense it will not be very different, nothing changes from that point of view.”
Gandas said he was thankful to the PGTI and DP World Tour for the chance to play the Indian Open as a full card holder as against his previous status as a domestic tour nominee. “It was a definite surprise to hear that the Order of Merit topper would get a European Tour card. Last year I got to know during the Kolkata week that it was a possibility so I am very grateful to the PGTI and DP World Tour for the opportunity to be playing here this week.”
Gandas knows playing on the bigger tour will bring its own set of challenges. “I will be playing a lot of new courses. In fact I have already played and a key factor I feel will be learning to adapt to them as and when I get the chance and I plan to keep going with that approach.
“There are some areas I have been working on for some time now with my coach, Anitya Chand. I have been concentrating on my mid and long irons as I will be playing longer courses more regularly. Also I need to concentrate on being more precise with my play in an all-round sense.
The young achiever is aware of the tournament and its long history. “I first heard of the Indian Open when I was still playing the junior events of the Indian Golf Union (IGU) and I used to watch it first at the Delhi Golf Club and after that over here at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
It has got a great heritage behind it, it is the National Open and it will be a proud moment for me to do well in it.”
The Indian Open winner will walk away richer by a cool $340,000 from the total prize pot of two million dollars.
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