Harrington in it to win it on India return


Padraig Harrington returns to India for the first time since 1992 at the Hero Indian Open this weekend and the Irishman only has eyes for the top prize.

Harrington last played in India at the Amateur Golf Championships in Calcutta some 24 years ago, but he heads back to the country a three-time major winner and 14-time victor on the European Tour.

The 44-year-old's has not hoisted a trophy since the Honda Classic on the PGA Tour 12 months ago, but - after jetting in from Florida where he played the Valspar Championship last week - Harrington is in confident mood.

"I'm looking to be in contention," he said. "Every week I go out there, I look to be in contention heading into the last nine holes. The goal is to have a chance and feel the pressure on Sunday."

Harrington joins five past winners including last year's victor Anirban Lahiri, who is favourite to retain his title after a breakout 2015 season.

Tricky trees and narrow fairways favour straight hitting

The entrants at this year's Hero Indian Open will have to contend with a Delhi Golf Club course known for its heavy line of trees and narrow fairways. Last year, the winning score was just seven under par - with Lahiri going on to win a play-off against SSP Chawrasia - and several players are expected to shun the driver off the tees with the emphasis on straight hitting. 

Hend bids for back-to-back victories, in-form Uihlein in contention

Scott Hend secured just a second European Tour victory at last weekend's True Thailand Classic. The Australian held off an unlikely late charge from home favourite Piya Swangarunporn.

Peter Uihlein heads to India having recorded top-10 finishes on his past three outings on the European Tour and is seeking to add to his sole Tour victory at the Madeira Islands Open in 2013.

Chawrasia cannot be discounted either. He is a four-time runner-up at the event and boasts two victories at the Delhi Golf Club.

Uihlein proving a fast starter

Part of Uihlein's consistency has been his ability to make fast starts. Over his past three opening rounds the American is 21 under par.

Currently 44 players are averaging over 300 yards off the tee for the season, with a record 27 set in 2015. Expect to see more conservative striking off the tee this weekend, though.

Fraser targets big week

Marcus Fraser has struggled for consistency since winning the Maybank Championship in February, but the Australian missed out by just one stroke in Delhi last year.

Joost Luiten has four top-10 finishes in his past six starts, but the Dutchman has not lifted a Tour trophy in two years and will be keen to end that run.

Home favourite Lahiri the front runner after 2015 success

Lahiri is the highest-ranked player this weekend and his victory 12 months ago will stand him in good stead for further success. Chawrasia hit a five-over 76 in a final-round collapse and Lahiri overturned a seven-stroke deficit to beat his compatriot in a play-off.

Go big or go home for Harrington

"I've heard players say they've taken out the driver but if I need to make eagle on the last hole then I will be hitting driver." Harrington has no plans to ditch the driver this weekend.

"It is a good feeling to have and you know that it can be done under the pressure of what you need to do come Sunday." Lahiri is hoping experience will prove key in Delhi.

"It is a bit claustrophobic, there aren't many places you can miss on the course and get away with it." Uihlein is ready to feel the squeeze.