SAIL-SBI Open to bolster Indian Golf events on Asian Tour

New Delhi: India is set to savour a busy run, of top-class golf, on the Asian Tour as the 5th edition of the SAIL Open will return on the 2012 Schedule, as the SAIL-SBI Open organizers, announced on Thursday.

The SAIL-SBI Open will offer a prize fund of US$300,000 and will be played at the popular city centre, Delhi Golf Club, for the third straight year. The event will be played next week from February 22 to 25 (Wednesday to Saturday)

The SAIL-SBI Open, sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI,) has enjoyed many magical moments on the Asian Tour, most notably when Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat set a new world 72-hole scoring record, with a stunning 32-under-par 256 winning total in the 2009 edition played at the Classic Golf Resort, just outside the Indian capital.

In the following season, Rikard Karlberg of Sweden, capped a sensational rookie year, when his victory at the SAIL-SBI Open propelled him to an Indian double, as he went on to win the Hero Indian Open.

Meanwhile, sensational Thai youngster Kiradech Aphibarnrat, claimed a watershed triumph last year in what was his first Asian Tour victory, in his fledgling career, and after losing in a playoff at last week’s Myanmar Open, appears to be in good form to defend his title.

C.S.Verma, Chairman, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) said, “We are delighted to be once again, staging this annual international event which promotes the sporting culture in the country. With SAIL increasing its global footprint steadily, we are delighted that this event attracts participation from over 20 nationalities and the Asian Tour’s television exposure of the tournament will cover the globe.”

Pratip Chaudhary, Chairman, State Bank of India, said, “We enjoy a very strong relationship with our partner SAIL and are pleased to further strengthen our association by collaborating on the SAIL-SBI Open. The State Bank Group has actively supported sports in India. We are keen to help Indian sportsmen to make a mark on the international scene. Indian professional golfers have a great image internationally. So, we are proud to be associated with this sport at the highest level in India.”

Asian Tour Executive Chairman, Kyi Hla Han, lauded the return of the SAIL-SBI Open, which has been one of the popular stops, on the Asian Tour calendar.

“The Asian Tour has been well received in India and the popularity of our events has continued to grow among India’s avid golf fans, especially with the emergence of new stars, each of whom have scored at least one victory on the Asian Tour such as Anirban Lahiri, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Himmat Rai”, said Han. “This year with Jyoti Randhawa and Shiv Kapur also in the field, the Indian challenge will be stronger than ever”, he added.

We hope the Asian Tour will continue to shape the landscape of golf in the country and unearth future champions that will follow in the footsteps of former Asian Tour number ones, Jeev Milkha Singh, Jyoti Randhawa and Arjun Atwal.

“We are happy  to work closely with great companies like the title sponsors , Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), and now India’s biggest financial institution, State Bank of India, who have joined together to put on this year’s event. The combination of two of India’s institutional giants puts the event on a very sure footing”, added Han.

Padamjit Sandhu, Director PGTI, said, “We are excited to welcome the SAIL-SBI Open and the stars of Asia to India. This new collaboration between India’s biggest Steel company and India’s largest Bank will ensure the long term growth of the SAIL-SBI Open and will further boost the stature of the game and create more interest.