Pro golf returns to the Kashmir valley after eight years with J&K Open

The Bangladeshi duo of Mohammed Zamal Hossain Mollah and Badal Hossain who are regulars in the PGTI will be the foreign flavour.

The return of the Professional Golf Tour of India sanctioned J&K Open, a Rs 40 lakh event, after eight years has brought back Jyoti Randhawa, one of the best golfers India has produced, after a hiatus.

A top 100 golfer in the world for five years from 2004 and 2008, Jyoti is also a 16 pro title winner including eight-time Asian Tour winner and a runner-up finish of 2004 Johnny Walker Classic on the European Tour and the Delhi golfer will be most followed at the Royal Springs Golf Course, Srinagar for the next four days from Wednesday.

Apart from Jyoti, 49, and currently occupying 50th place in the PGTI Order of Merit, 117 professionals including Udayan Mane, PGTI Order of Merit leader Karandeep Kochhar, international winners Rashid Khan, Khalin Joshi, Viraj Madappa and former champion Chikkarangappa S, Kshitij Naveed Kaul, Manu Gandas among others will be seen in action.

The Bangladeshi duo of Mohammed Zamal Hossain Mollah and Badal Hossain who are regulars in the PGTI will be the foreign flavour.

The tournament is part of J&K Tourism’s initiative of promoting golf tourism in the region. Apart from Royal Springs Golf Course in Srinagar, Pahalgam Golf Course (Lidder Valley), Gulmarg Golf Club and Jammu Tawi Golf Course are in the region which has mesmerized golfers.

The 6445 metres course at a par of 72, designed by Robert Trent Jones II, itself is a challenge to golfers and is situated at the foot of the Zabarwan Mountains that descend onto the shores of the famed Dal Lake.

The local challenge will be led by pros like Pawan Parihar, Fayaz Ahmed Langoo and Raghav Wahi and amateurs including Sanjeev Dugra, Shabir Ahmad Bhat, Zubair Hasan Zargar, Arsalan Rah, Adnan Rah and Umar Yaqoob Mir.

“The return of men’s professional golf to the Kashmir valley gives us a great opportunity to showcase J&K as a golfing destination. We look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership with the PGTI,” said Sarmad Hafeez, secretary, tourism & culture department of Jammu & Kashmir while G N Itoo, director, J&K Tourism, added, “We look forward to transforming J&K into a major hub for golf tourism and into the golfing capital of the country.”

“The J&K Open 2021 is in line with our long-term objective of promoting professional golf in different parts of the country in order to grow the sport further,” said Uttam Singh Mundy, CEO, PGTI.

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