The winds of change are blowing through the European Tour. New events and new formats are being introduced to keep the golf as exciting as possible but not all change goes down well. The decision to switch the Hero Indian Open from the tight, short yet tricky Delhi Country Club to the 7,650 yard long Gary Player Course at DLF Golf and Country Club is one such unpopular decision.
It’s not that the Gary Player Course is in any way poor, it’s just that the co-sanctioned field of European and Asian Tour players had become used to the Hero Indian Open being more than just another event where you have to smash it miles off the tee to stand a chance of winning.
Clearly, strategy plays a part at any course and in any tournament but the length of the Gary Player Course all but precludes the shorter hitters from having any chance of winning. Any player who struggles to top 280 off the tee will need to be absolutely world class with their fairway woods and long irons before holing putt after putt just to stay in contention with the power players. Furthermore, the fairways and greens are larger than average which will hand an increased bonus to the biggest drivers.
Lahiri’s Return Can End on a High
There’s no question about it, Anirban Lahiri is the best Indian golfer and has been for some time. The 29-year-old has already amassed an impressive 18 professional wins and has recently been seeking fame and fortune in American where he lives and competes on the PGA Tour. The 2015 Hero Indian Open champion has not yet won out in the States but he’s certainly on a decent run of form.
Lahiri’s last start concluded with a tie for 11th at the Honda Classic and he’s only missed two cuts since the PGA Championship towards the end of last season. He’s got the power to cope with the Gary Player Course and the class to outperform this standard of opposition so make sure to have him on board at 9/1 with Coral.
Hend May Find Return to Form in Gurgaon
Scott Hend’s not been particularly enjoying his golf of late. The big hitting Aussie’s not missed a cut in four events but his finishes have been rather less than inspiring. According to his social media posts, Hend is struggling a little with his game but this week could be just what he needs to get back to his best.
Hend is the reigning Asian Order of Merit champion so has beaten the majority of players in this field before and can do so again at 40/1 with Ladbrokes.
Shubhankar Sharma Can Wow the Home Crowd
Shubhankar Sharma will have as much reason as anyone to feel positive about his chances of success this week. The Indian has finished no worse than T15 in any of his last five starts so confidence is high and with a driving average of almost 300 yards this season, he’s also got the necessary power to compete. At 40/1 with BetVictor, Sharma is a tempting each way prospect.