The European and Asian Tours continue with their strengthening relationship on the back of the True Thailand Classic with this week’s Hero Indian Open. The event has been co-sanctioned by the European Tour for a while now and the tournament organisers are starting to feel the benefit with an increasing number of stalwarts of European golf making the trip to Delhi this year. The likes of Joost Luiten, Padraig Harrington and Peter Uihlein will all be in attendance this week looking to find a way around the tricky Dehli Golf Club.
In winning last year Anirban Lahiri had to display excellent control of his ball and some seriously high levels of concentration. He was pushed all the way by fellow Indian, S. S. P. Chawrasia before ultimately prevailing in a playoff after Chawrasia hit his ball into the trees and failed to get up and down. The trees which line the majority of the fairways are going to get plenty of action again this year as the main defence of the 6,983 yard par 72 is the narrowness of the fairways. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that as this is a short course it can be overpowered. Many of those making their first appearance here will quickly learn to put their driver away and that hitting irons off the tee for position is often the best approach.
The defending champion is the man to beat according to the bookies and that certainly looks fair. Lahiri was an accomplished player on the Asian Tour before picking up his national title for the first time but his rise ever since has been highly impressive. Now ranked just inside the top 50 players in the world, Lahiri has performed with distinction on both the European and PGA Tours and has doubtless improved because of his experiences over the past 12 months which included a heart breaking defeat in the Presidents Cup. Lahiri is a cut above most players in the field this week and should be backed at 8/1 with Ladbrokes.
Padraig Harrington has won golf tournaments all around the world including three major championships so he certainly has all the necessary experience to win his first tournament in India. The Irishman has been through it somewhat over the past few years but many of his issues have been through an over examination of his game. He is constantly changing his putting stance, equipment and swing thoughts but that might just stand him in good stead around this tricky course. He will make the most of his practice rounds to plot a route round with his caddie and could outclass the field at odds of 28/1 with Coral.
Marc Warren is one of only six of the world’s top 100 players in the field this week. The Scotsman has plenty of experience playing at tight courses that require strategy and patience and with three European Tour wins he’s got the experience needed to rise to the top of the leaderboard this week. The odds of 80/1 that Coral are offering are surely too big for a player of his calibre.