New Delhi: India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar will be aiming to add a ninth Asian Tour win and a first on home soil to his illustrious career when he tees off for the prestigious Hero Indian Open in a fortnight.
The 29-year-old Bhullar, who has won eight Asian Tour titles across Asia but never in India, is determined to shine in front of his home crowd when the event gets underway at the challenging DLF Golf and Country Club in New Delhi from March 8 to 11.
He will spearhead the local charge alongside defending champion S.S.P. Chawrasia, Anirban Lahiri and young talent Shubhankar Sharma at the US$1.75 million event, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the European Tour for the fourth consecutive year in 2018.
“Winning my first Asian Tour title in India is going to be really special. It has always been my dream to win the Hero Indian Open and if I can do that, the victory will inspire many youngsters as well as aspiring golfers from small cities,” said Bhullar.
Bhullar’s most recent victory came at the Macao Open last October where he won for the second time in his career. He also became the youngest ever player to obtain eight wins on the region’s premier Tour following that victory.
“The DLF Golf and Country Club is a great test of golf. I won the DLF Masters on the local circuit back in 2009. Apart from that, I won quite a few junior and sub-junior events there. It requires a lot of mental skills to play well at this championship golf course.
“It is by far the hardest course on the Asian Tour. I am trying to get my short game set for it. Putting will also play an important role,” added Bhullar, who came in tied-43rd at the Gary Player-designed course last year.
Bhullar has enjoyed a relatively good start to the 2018 season so far, claiming one top-10 result in four starts on the Asian Tour to sit in 11th place on the latest Habitat for Humanity Standings led by Sharma.
The par-72 Gary Player course at the DLF Golf and Country Club, which measures 7,417 yards, will host the Hero Indian Open for the second straight year. Chawrasia became only the second Indian player, after Jyoti Randhawa, to successfully defend his title last year. He won by seven shots with a winning total of 10-under-par 278.
The Hero Indian Open 2018, which marks the 54th edition of the storied event, will also feature an elite field that includes reigning Order of Merit champion Gavin Green of Malaysia, EurAsia Cup Team Europe Captain Thomas Bjørn of Denmark and Andrew Johnston of England.
Also in the fray are 2016 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Scott Hend of Australia, Shiv Kapur of India, Korea’s Jeunghun Wang and Thai veteran Prayad Marksaeng, as well as former champions Liang Wen-chong of China and Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh.