Ghei leads big Indian challenge at Koh Samui golf


Koh Samui (Thailand) : Gaurav Ghei will spearhead the Indian challenge at the Bangkok Airways Open which tees off Thursday. Ghei, winner of the Pine Valley Beijing Open in 2007, is looking for his fourth Asian Tour title, the first of which came 13 years ago in 1995.

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Ghei, one of the senior professionals in India, will be joined by Digvijay Singh, Arjun Singh, Firoz Ali, Amandeep Johl, Rahil Gangjee and youth brigade Gaganjeet Bhullar, Himmat Rai and Anirban Lahiri.

Also playing is Thai girl, Pornanong Phatlum, who this year has won the Women’s Indian Open.

Defending champion Lee Sung will be hoping to strike it rich. The deaf star who enjoyed a steady 2007 season, will return to the Santiburi Samui Country Club and would like to rejuvenate his form in the US$300,000 Asian Tour event.

“I’m really happy to come back here. It’s nice to return to a place where I have won, as it brings back good memories,” said Lee.

But the Seoul-based golfer, who turned professional in 2000, will be faced with a strong local contingent with the likes of Prayad Marsaeng, who won in Japan last week, former winner Chawalit Plaphol, Thaworn Wiratchant and young guns Chapchai Nirat and Chinnarat Phadungsil.

The other top contenders include Australia’s Adam Blyth, in-form Chinese Taipei star Lin Wen-tang, who won the Asian Tour International in March, and Filipino Juvic Pagunsan.

Singapore’s Mardan Mamat, who finished in fifth place last year, has been enjoying a consistent ride this season making the cut in eight straight events that include two top-10 finishes and he relishes his return to Koh Samui.