The 2013 Gujarat Kensville Challenge, the season-opening event of the new Challenge Tour season, is India’s only Challenge Tour event and is jointly sanctioned with the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI). It will also herald the first tournament on home soil for the 2013 PGTI season.The €200,000 event will this year have an increased field of 120 players, including 63 members from the European Challenge Tour and 57 from the PGTI.
The event will be held at the pristine Kensville Golf & Country Club in Ahmedabad, for which Jeev Milkha Singh is the Brand Ambassador.The event will also see cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar, another of the Brand Ambassadors of the Kensville Golf & Country Club, visit the event on the Pro-Am day.
The presence of Beem as a former Major Champion is a significant coup for the event. The 42 year old scored a historic win at the 2002 US PGA Championship when he rallied from behind to beat Tiger Woods by one shot to win. He has two other PGA Tour wins to his name.
The field for the 2013 Gujarat Kensville Challenge will also include the 2011 winner, Gaganjeet Bhullar, currently the top Indian player in golf’s world rankings, and the 2012 runner-up Rahil Gangjee, together with other leading Indian players such as Himmat Rai, Chiragh Kumar, Shamim Khan and Rashid Khan.Sameer Sinha, Managing Director of Savvy Infrastructure, which owns the Kensville Golf & Country Club, said: “Kensville is delighted to welcome the GKC once again this year. Our association with the European Challenge Tour has truly been a privilege.”
“It has brought a golf event of international standing to Gujarat and has served the purpose of popularising golf in India very well. I am sure we will all enjoy and benefit from seeing players of the calibre and pedigree of Rich Beem and Oliver Wilson tee up for the third edition.”“Aside from the great golfers on display, we will also have the pleasure of hosting India’s cricketing genius, Sachin Tendulkar, which will make this year’s event even more special.”
Singh, the Brand Ambassador for the golf course and the event, said: “I am proud to be associated with this event, which has grown in strength and stature over the past three years. It has opened a new window for young golfers and gives the Indian stars a great chance to make a good start right at the beginning of the year. Gaganjeet, who won this event in 2011, has since matured into a fine golfer and we are sure to find similar champions this year and in the future.”Alain de Soultrait, Director of the Challenge Tour, added: “We are once again privileged to open our Challenge Tour season with the Gujarat Kensville Challenge, a tournament which is going from strength to strength every year.
“Since its inception in 2011 we have built a very strong relationship with the loyal partners and sponsors of this event and they have always produced a marvellous tournament with worthy winners, a wonderful venue and friendly, welcoming staff.
“One of the most pleasing aspects of this tournament has been the competition between the European and Indian players, with Gaganjeet Bhullar winning in 2011 while Max Kieffer beat Rahil Gangjee in an exciting play-off last year.”
Padamjit Sandhu, Director, PGTI, said: "The Gujarat Kensville Challenge which has been on our schedule for three years now, will once again herald the start of our strong season for 2013. Almost all our top stars are expected to tee off at Kensville Golf and Country Club and they will compete with some very talented European players as also some other well-known and established stars.
"The Savvy Group and Kensville have been great supporters of Indian golf and I am sure this association will grow in strength."In a thrilling finish last year, Maximilian Kieffer, who comes from the same city – Dusseldorf - as Ryder Cup hero Martin Kaymer, edged out Indian favourite Rahil Gangjee in a play-off.
In keeping with the European Challenge Tour’s position as a stepping stone to the main European Tour, Kieffer has since made a comfortable transition to the big time and currently sits in ninth place on The 2013 Race to Dubai standings after a tied fourth place finish at the season-opening Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa.The Gujarat Kensville Challenge 2013 is supported by Incredible India and Blackberry.