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.
Polka Yu - Beijing
Tel: +86-10-6505-6363 ext. 224
Holly Hu - Shanghai
Tel: +86-21-5403-2121 ext. 171
SOURCE JOHNNIE WALKER