Indian Golfer SSP Chawrasia with the winners trophy after winning the Indian Open 2017 title at Royal Calcutta Golf Club in Kolkata on March 13, 2017.. Image Source: IANS

New Delhi, Feb 13 : Defending champion S.S.P. Chawrasia will lead a strong home challenge at the 54th edition of the European and Asian Tour co-sanctioned Hero Indian Open, to be played at the Gary Player layout of the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurugram from March 8 to 11.

Chawrasia will be attempting the first-ever hat trick of wins in the 54-year history of the tournament. Chawrasia had finished runner-up at the Hero Indian Open on four occasions -- in 1999, 2006, 2013 and 2015 -- before pipping countryman Anirban Lahiri and Korea's Jeunghun Wang to take the coveted title for the first time in 2016.

He successfully retained his title last year to claim his fourth European Tour win.

Besides Chawrasia, former champion Lahiri and twice European Tour winner and emerging talent Shubhankar Sharma will be some of the other Indians vying for the title.

Shubhankar, the highest-ranked Indian player in the tournament with two European Tour wins in less than two months, has broken into Top-100, with a world ranking of No. 72.

Lahiri, PGA Tour player and World No. 76, will try to reclaim the Hero Indian open trophy that he won in 2015.

Among other Indians in the competition are Shiv Kapur, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Ajeetesh Sandhu, Team Asia captain Arjun Atwal, Jeev Milkha Singh, Jyoti Randhawa, Mukesh Kumar and Chiragh Kumar.

Emiliano Grillo of Argentina, who is a PGA Tour winner and member of the 2017 Presidents Cup team, will head the global list. The marquee names also include Andrew Johnston, one of the most popular players around the world, and the Ryder Cup captain, Thomas Bjorn, who has 21 worldwide wins including 15 on European Tour.

Bjorn led a strong European team last month to a fine win over Asia in the EurAsia Cup in Malaysia.

Past champion Thongchai Jaidee and Ryder Cup player, Chris Wood, who won the 2016 BMW PGA Championships, are also in the field.

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