The European Challenge Tour will make an historic first visit to India when the inaugural Gujarat Kensville Challenge takes place from January 13-16, 2010.
The €200,000 event, the first tournament on the 2011 Challenge Tour Schedule, will be co-sanctioned with the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) and staged at the Kensville Golf Club near Ahmedabad, in the Indian state of Gujarat.
The 7,250 yards (6,631metres), par 72 parkland course, which opened in 2007, was co-designed by Col KD Bagga and three-time European Tour champion Jeev Milkha Singh.
The field will be comprised of 114 players, with 60 from the Challenge Tour and the remaining 54 provided by the PGTI.
Alain de Soultrait, Director of the Challenge Tour, said: “The popularity of golf in the Subcontinent has increased dramatically in recent years, so it gives me great pleasure to announce the Challenge Tour’s first visit to India.
“The tournament will give our Members the chance to play in a new environment and experience a new culture, and also gives India’s best young golfing talent the opportunity to compete against some of Europe’s brightest talent.
“The PGTI’s support has been crucial to the staging of the tournament, and we should also thank the officials at the superb Kensville Golf Club. Finally, special thanks must go to Inder Talwar, who has long been a supporter of both The European and Challenge Tours and without whom this event would not be happening.”
Padamjit Sandhu, Director of PGTI, said: “The growth and consolidation of professional golf in India is opening up strong and exciting opportunities for partnerships with international Tours. The Gujarat Kensville Challenge will help create a great platform for Indian professionals to compete against the best players from the European Challenge Tour. We thank the sponsors and the European Challenge Tour for their partnership with the PGTI, and we look forward to some very exciting golf in Ahmedabad.”
Sameer Sinha, Managing Director of Kensville GC, said: “We are delighted to host the 2011 Gujarat Kensville Challenge. I believe that, with this event, golf has truly arrived in style in our state of Gujarat. We hope this event will be the first of many at Kensville in the coming years. I would like to extend a personal welcome to all Challenge Tour players from across the world, and promise to deliver a great tournament at Kensville, in keeping with India’s famous hospitality.”
The event, which will be played for at least the next three years, sees the Challenge Tour fall into line with The European Tour, which first staged an event in India in February 2008, when home hero SSP Chowrasia won the EMAAR-MGF Indian Masters at Delhi Golf Club.
Three weeks later Australian Mark Brown won the Johnnie Walker Classic at DLF Golf and Country Club, the same venue for this year’s Avantha Masters, which was won by Brown’s compatriot Andrew Dodt.
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