Former amateur superstars Peter, Paul strengthen the field

Peter Uihlein and Paul Dunne, who had stellar amateur careers before turning to paid ranks, will be among the names to watch put at the Hero Indian Open golf tournament. starting Thursday.

Riding on three successive Top-10 finishes Peter, first appeared in India in 2012, may well be a challenger on Sunday.

Paul stunned the world by holding a 54-hole lead at the Open while still being an amateur at the St Andrews, Old Course. He ultimately finished tied 30 and late turned pro and finished tied 19 at Dunhill Links and began this year with his first top 10 finish as a pro at the Joburg Open.

When Peter, former world no 1 amateur, tees-up for the opening round on Thursday, he will be re-establishing his old India connection. He played here in 2012 at the Gujarat Kensville Challenger where he finished tied 12th.

The next year, the 27-year-old American golfer got his first European Tour victory at the Maderia Island Open in Portugal. As an amateur, he was a member of the victorious US team in the 2009 Walker Cup when he created a 4-0 world record.

This season Peter was tied ninth at Maybank Championships Malaysia, and tied fourth at Perth International and on Sunday, he finished sole fourth at True Thailand Classic. So, he is in excellent nick and will be fancying his chances at the USD 1.66 million tournament co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.

Paul, 23, is being hailed as the next big thing in golf. The Irishman burst on to the professional stage with a sensational performance in the 2015 British Open at the fearsome St Andrews course. Playing as an amateur he was tied for lead after three rounds. But the Old Course caught up with him in the final round when he carded 78 and finished tied 30th.

He became the first amateur since 1927, to lead The Open after three rounds. Soon after, he made his first pro appearance at the 2015 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and finished inside top 20.

He was also a member of the victorious Great Britain and Ireland team in the 2015 Walker Cup.

The 52nd edition of Hero India Open already features the likes of three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington, defending champion Anirban Lahiri, who is currently ranked 52nd on the official world golf ranking, Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Marcus Fraser and Eurasia Cup star, SSP Chawrasia, who has finished runners up on four occasions in the tournament.

All the top Indian players, Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal, Rahil Gangjee, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Rashid Khan, Chiragh Kumar, Himmat Rai among others are also in the field.

Besides the defending champion, Lahiri, other former champions include Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, Thaworn Wiratchant, David Gleeson, Feroz Ali, Mardan Mamat and India’s own Atwal and C Muniyappa.