Strong Indian contingent at Asia-Pacific in Korea

A six-member strong Indian contingent is all set to tee off at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, the winner of which will get a chance to play alongside the world's elite at the Augusta National in the following year's Masters. 

 The tournament will take place at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club, which hosted the Presidents Cup, where Anirban Lahiri made history by becoming the first Indian ever to represent the International team. 

The winner gets a berth at 2017 Masters and the runner-up gets a spot in final qualifying for 2017 British Open. 

 Three of the six Indian players in Incheon this week are on golf scholarships in the United States. 

 Priyanshu Singh, who played Asia-Pacific last year has since won the All India Amateur championships in December and has been at Nova South-Eastern University for three years; Mangalore-born Rigel Fernandes, was based in Dubai, but later moved to US to join the IMG Academy and this April he joined the University of South Florida. Viraj Madappa, a Bengalurean, became top Indian amateur in ranking and has just joined the Texas A&M University for golf. 

 But the highest ranked Indian amateur in this team, Rayhan Thomas, has been making waves on the pro circuit in Dubai, where he has been a regular feature in the Top-10 on Middle-East and North African Pro Tour. Born and brought up in Dubai, Rayhan was pulled out of normal school to do home schooling and focus on golf. 

 The remaining two Indian amateurs here are Chandigarh lad Yuvraj Sandhu, who has distinguished himself very well this past season in India, and Naved Kshtij Kaul, who last year lost in the finals of both All India Juniors and Seniors (to Priyanshu). 

 None of these youngsters is in no hurry to join the pro ranks and in the meantime, they have all garnered immense amount of experience on international courses, because of teams being sent to various international events by Indian Golf Union. 

 Priyanshu and Madappa played the Asia Pacific last year also, while Kaul comes in from World Amateurs in Mexico; Rigel Fernandes, who played for India at 2014 Asia-Pacific, has been in US for last few years and Rayhan even won a pro tournament as an amateur in Dubai.