New Delhi: The fifth edition of Panasonic Open India (Nov 5 – 8, 2015), returns to Delhi Golf Club with a prize purse of USD $400,000, an increase of US$100,000 from previous editions.
The star-studded line-up includes three-time Indian Open champion Jyoti Randhawa, two-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, last year joint runners-up Rahil Gangjee of India and Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka, multiple Asian Tour winners Gaganjeet Bhullar, Rashid Khan and Bangladesh’s Siddikur among others.
The Panasonic Open India has provided a perfect platform for many Indian golfers including current Asian Tour merit list leader Anirban Lahiri, who clinched the inaugural event in 2011 for his maiden Asian Tour title, while tour veterans Digvijay Singh and S.S.P. Chawrasia won the 2012 and 2014 editions respectively to make it three wins out of four for Indians. Aussie journeyman Wade Ormsby won the 2013 edition for his first career title after playing in over 200 professional tournaments.
Tilak Malaviya unplugs Mithun Perera, the dimunitive golfer from Sri Lanka, who came ever so close to winning his maiden Asian Tour title at last year’s Panasonic Open India, only to lose in a three-way play off.
Currently ranked 17th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, Perera, who has enjoyed a fantastic run with two top five finishes including a tied third at the USD $1.5 million Hero Indian Open 2015 in February and fifth at USD $300,000 Queens Cup in June, is eager for another shot at glory at the Panasonic Open India.
Home Golf Course: Royal Colombo Golf Club
Turned Pro: 2011
Role Model & coach: My father, Nandasena Perera who was a regular on the old Asian circuit during the 80s and 90s.
Highlights as an Amateur: Winning the 2009 Asia Pacific Amateur Championship in Mission Hills, China in a three-way play-off. Player’s from 33 countries participated and I was awarded a yellow jacket for my win and a spot at the Australian Open. That has to be my most memorable moment on a golf course.
Success as a Pro: I won the PGTI-Haryana Open 2011 in Panchkula by a solitary stroke after leading the tournament by nine strokes at one stage. That win made me believe that I belonged in the professional circuit and made me hungrier for success. Winning my first pro tournament at home – The Standard Chartered Open 2012, was special as the tournament had big names like Anirban Lahiri, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Digvijay Singh to name a few.
I came agonizingly close to my first victory on the Asian Tour at the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic but settled for second place, finishing one shot behind eventual winner Scott Hend of Australia. 2013 was a good year for me on the Asian Tour as I enjoyed three top-10s, including a runner-up finish at the Zaykabar Myanmar Open. I also had five top-10 finishes on the PGTI.
After bagging back to back titles on PGTI – Standard Chartered Open 2014 & PGTI – Eagleburg Open 2014, I had a strong finish to the Asian Tour season which included three top-10s, including a play-off loss to SSP Chawrasia at the Panasonic Open India.
Indian Experience: I have always done well in India right from my amateur days. I’ve made a lot of good friends along the way and India is like my second home. Delhi Golf Club, which is hosting the Panasonic Open India 2015 this week, has always been a happy hunting ground for me. It is a tight course, and accuracy off the tees is very important. I strongly believe that my first Asian Tour win will come on this course.
Dream Fourball: I would like to play with my father Nandasena Perera, Tiger Woods and Bubba Watson
Mantra in life: Always stay positive and keep smiling
Future Plans: To win on the Asian Tour and play big-ticket events.
Leisure time: I like to watch soccer on Television and relax at home
Golfer: Tiger Woods
Cricketer: Mahela Jayawardena
Footballer: Lionel Messi
Actors: Aamir Khan & Jackie Chan
Actress: Katrina Kaif & Angelina Jolie
Movies: Lagaan & The Last Samurai
Cuisine: Sri Lankan style rice and curry, and in sweets Gulab Jamun is my favourite
Restaurant: Subway & McDonalds
Favorite holiday destination: Thailand
Favorite golf course: Delhi Golf Club
Favorite Golf Resort: Heritage Golf Resort, Mauritius
Toughest Golf Course: Amata Spring, Thailand