Top Indians to Join Star-Studded Field in China at the JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC

Randhawa, Johl, Gangjee, Kahlon, Singh and Ghei

Qualify for Asia's Richest Golf Event

Apr 01, 2005, 00:00 ET from JOHNNIE WALKER

    SHANGHAI, China, April 1 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- Six top Indian golfers
 have qualified for the star-studded GBP1.25 million (USD2.35 million) Johnnie
 Walker Classic which will take place in mainland China for the very first time
 over Beijing's Pine Valley Golf Resort & Country Club from April 21 to 24.
     Jyoti Randhawa, Amandeep Johl, Rahil Gangjee, Harmeet Kahlon, Jeev Milkha
 Singh and Gaurev Ghei have the chance to line up alongside the likes of South
 Africans Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, ranked three and five in the world
 respectively, Spain's Sergio Garcia at six, world number nine Adam Scott of
 Australia, six-time major winner Nick Faldo of England and defending Johnnie
 Walker Classic champion, Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez.
     The Indians will compete alongside a host of top Asians in Beijing
 including the region's number one player, Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand,
 Korea's Charlie Wi, Singaporean Mardan Mamat, Zhang Lian-wei of China and Wang
 Ter-chang of Taiwan.
     Randhawa, 32, will no doubt be looking to go one better at this year's
 Johnnie Walker Classic after securing joint second position with Denmark's
 Thomas Bjorn, two shots adrift of winner Miguel Angel Jimenez, in the 2004
 event at Bangkok's Alpine Golf & Sports Club.  A five-time winner in Asia,
 Jyoti finished the 2004 season as runner-up to Thongchai in the Asian Order of
 Merit after playing just seven tournaments.  He is currently enjoying a run of
 good form having won the Volvo Masters of Asia last December and recorded
 another second position in February's Malaysian Open at Kuala Lumpur's Saujana
 Golf & Country Club.
     Despite a slow start to 2005, Johl was recently named as a captain's pick
 to represent Asia in the Dynasty Cup against Japan.  A stalwart of the Asian
 Tour since its inception in 1995, Johl earned his qualification to play in the
 prestigious Johnnie Walker Classic through his 21st position on the 2004 Asian
 Order of Merit.
     Gangjee gave up equestrian to concentrate on golf at the request of his
 father and now idolizes fellow Indian golfer Arjun Atwal, who plays on the US
 PGA Tour. The 26-year-old immediately made his mark in the game when, in his
 rookie season, he won on the Asian Tour at the 2004 Volkswagen
 Masters - China.  The event was played last May at Pine Valley so Gangjee
 could be one to watch when he tees up at the Johnnie Walker Classic in April
 over a course that obviously favours his game.
     At 37 in the 2004 Asian Order of Merit, Kahlon also qualifies for the
 Asia's premier golf event.  His recent fifth position at the Thai Open at
 Phuket's Blue Canyon Country Club shows an upturn in form which hopefully will
 continue when he competes at the Johnnie Walker Classic.
     A regular on both the Asian and Japanese Tours, Singh's last win was at
 the 1999 Lexus Invitational in Thailand.  The following year he suffered with
 a wrist injury but nearly ended his five-year victory drought in December when
 he finished in joint second slot behind Japan's Kiyoshi Miyazato in the Asia
 Japan Okinawa Open after leading in the third round.
     Ghei has not enjoyed great form over the last few years but has managed to
 hold his position at 53rd in the Asian Order of Merit, qualifying himself for
 the Johnnie Walker Classic.  The 35-year-old is no doubt looking to repeat
 some of the histrionics of his early pro career when in 1996 he became a
 national hero when he stole victory for India from Scotland's Colin
 Montgomerie in the Alfred Dunhill Cup at St Andrews.  In 1997, Ghei had the
 distinction of becoming the first Indian to qualify for and play in the
 British Open at Royal Troon.
     The Johnnie Walker Classic is jointly owned and proudly presented by
 Johnnie Walker and IMG and is jointly sanctioned by the European, Asian and
 Australasian Tours and by the China Golf Association.
     Johnnie Walker is the world's leading deluxe Scotch whisky with annual
 sales of approximately 11.7 million nine-litre cases.  IMG is the world's
 premier sports and lifestyle management and marketing firm with an
 international staff of more than 2,200 people in 70 offices in 30 countries.
     Johnnie Walker has a long association with golf.  Golf and Scotch whisky
 are arguably two of Scotland's greatest gifts to the world, which may explain
 why the world's leading Scotch whisky brand, Johnnie Walker, sponsors Asia
 Pacific's premier golf event, the Johnnie Walker Classic.
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