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Khel Today Bureau 

New Delhi: Rasmus Højgaard, who turns 23 on Tuesday, will be seeking more silverware to his already growing collection when he tees off at the USD 2.25 million Hero Indian Open this month. Højgaard already has four wins on the DP World Tour to his name.

Rasmus will be making his debut at the Hero Indian Open, which will be played from March 28-31 at the DLF Golf and Country Club, and will hope to mark his birthday month with a fifth career win on the DP World Tour. Currently 75th in the world rankings, Denmark’s Højgaard will be one of the highest-ranked players in the field, his career-best rank being 63rd.

He is coming off a glorious start to 2024 with Top-10s in three successive starts in Ras Al Khaimah, where he was second, and then T-8 in Bahrain and T-6 in Qatar. Before that, he was an identical T-11 at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic and the Dubai Invitational. His first win at the 2019 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open (part 2020 season) made him the third youngest to win a title in the DPWT and he added to that by winning the 2020 ISPS Handa UK Championship, 2021 Omega European Masters and the 2023 Made in Himmerland, held in his home country, Denmark.

A win at the Hero Indian Open would bring Rasmus closer to getting into the Top-10 of the DP World Tour rankings for 2024, which could earn him a card into the PGA Tour and join his brother Nicolai. Incidentally, his twin brother Nicolai played last year at the Hero Indian Open and finished T-32. Late last year Rasmus narrowly missed earning into the PGA Tour, while Nicolai, who won the season-ending 2023 DP World Tour Championships, has moved to the PGA Tour.

Another popular name confirming his entry to the Hero Indian Open will be Yannik Paul of Germany, who turned 30 last week. Paul will be back for India’s national open to try and complete some unfinished work.

The one-time DP World Tour, Paul, who made his Hero Indian Open debut last year, came within a whisker of his second win on the Tour, after starting with a brilliant 65 on the first day. He shot all four rounds under par, but despite a bogey-free final round, fell one short of the eventual champion and countryman Marcel Siem.

Siem, who kept his nerve to shoot 70 and win by one shot, was looking forward to defending his title, but unfortunately injured himself and pulled out of this year’s event.

Even though Paul was unable to add to his tally of wins in 2023, he had a superb season with two runner-up finishes, one third place and four other Top-10 results. Paul, who broke through into Top-100 of the world, is now just outside at 112th.

The current season 2024 has begun well with two Top-10 finishes in 2024. He was T-8 at the Dubai Invitational and T-4 at Ras Al Khaimah Championships.

All top Indian stars, led by the 2015 Hero Indian Open winner, Anirban Lahiri, will be seen in action at the 4-day 72-hole event.

The tournament, now in its 57th edition, will carry a record prize purse of USD 2.25 million and will be a part of the Asian Swing bringing added benefits for the Swing Champion. The Hero Indian Open will be the second of five events comprising the Asian Swing as part of the new-look 2024 Race to Dubai.

The tournament will see 144 players compete for the trophy. The winner will receive a handsome US$ 382,500, the runner-up picking up US$ 247,500 and the third-place finisher pocketing US$ 141,750.

Hero MotoCorp has been the Title Sponsor of the tournament since 2005 and marks two decades of a fruitful relationship with India’s apex golfing body, the Indian Golf Union (IGU). This is also the 10th year of the tournament’s association with the DP World Tour (formerly European Tour), one of the biggest global golfing Tours.

The Hero Indian Open was not held between 2020 – 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and returned to the Race to Dubai in February 2023.

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