Cape Town - English duo
Andrew Johnston and Chris Wood are relishing their first tilt at the Indian Open this week as they prepare to tee it up DLF Golf and Country Club in
first visit to the city, and the country, for both players, and the prospect of
some warm weather golf is appealing after preparations disrupted by the snow
back home in the UK.
Although both players are aware of the testing nature of
DLF's Gary Player Course, they have arrived ready to break the stranglehold of
local players who have dominated this event in recent years.
event - which was first played in 1964 - became part of the European Tour
International Schedule in 2015, it has only been won by Indian players.
winner Anirban Lahiri and defending champion SSP Chawrasia - who is aiming to
become the first player to win the title in three consecutive years - are both
in in the field, alongside the country’s rising star and current Race to Dubai
leader Shubhankar Sharma, who arrives in Delhi after recording a top ten finish
in his maiden appearance at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
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keen to keep his recent run of form going, after finishing in second place at
the inaugural Oman Open and following that up with at T13 finish at the Qatar Masters.
"Preparation wasn't great, but I managed to hit six or seven hundred balls over a few days. I actually wanted to spend a lot of time last week in the bunkers. It’s been something I need to work on. But with six inches of snow you can't really hit many bunker shots. I'll have to tighten up the short game this week," said Wood.
"India is somewhere I've always wanted to come to. We’re lucky that we go all around the world and play all of these different golf courses. I arrived late last night and my first experience this morning coming to the course was turning into the on-coming traffic, which we don't do at home. That will be something that I will get used to this week."
Meanwhile Johnston is focused on securing his
second European Tour title, after opening the year in promising fashion with a
top ten at the Abu Dhabi Championship.
"My target is definitely to try to win again. Obviously, I want to be
in the top 60 to play in the final Race to Dubai tournaments, but
really, the aim is to get another win on the board. I played well at the
start of the year so I've just got to keep that going and keep working
hard," said Johnston.
"To see different parts of the world is
absolutely amazing and we're lucky that we get to travel and see so
much. It's my first time in India. I'm really looking forward to the
week and trying to explore Delhi a little bit as well."
They join a
field that includes the man who pipped Wood to the title in Oman, Dutchman
Joost Luiten, Thomas Bjørn - who becomes the first current Ryder Cup Captain to
play in the Indian Open - 2016 Ryder Cup Captain and Major winner Darren
Clarke, and former Ryder Cup players Jamie Donaldson, Stephen Gallacher, David
Howell and Edoardo Molinari.