Dongguan (China), Oct 31: India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar enters the $7 million WGC-HSBC Champions golf Thursday without the benefit of a practice round but he is not discounting himself from hitting the jackpot Sunday.
The Asian Tour’s in-form star arrived at Mission Hills Golf Club Tuesday night following a visa snag and did not have the opportunity to test out the par-72, 7,301-yard Olazabal course due to the Pro-Am.
Bhullar, however, was unfazed. With two wins in the past two months, including a top-10 at last week’s co-sanctioned Asian Tour and PGA Tour event in Malaysia, the 24-year-old is confident he can extend his fine run of form this week against an elite field which includes seven of the world’s top-10 players and a host of Major champions.
“I’m striking the ball really good,” said Bhullar. “At this time I’m really high on confidence, and you never know, I always say golf is a funny game, and you never know, it could be anybody’s game.
“Golf is no longer being played only in America or Europe. It’s a global sport and guys from all over the world are winning all over the world. I think it’s a great inspiration for us, for guys to come and play in the HSBC Champions. In the past, a lot of Asians have done well. I remember Y.E. Yang winning this tournament (in 2006). I saw him on television and yeah, it could be anybody’s week.”
Bhullar, who won the Venetian Macau Open and Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Taipei, walked the course Wednesday morning and liked what he saw. “It’s looking very nice, and kind of suits my eye,” said the Indian, currently fifth on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.
“The thing is, it’s all about mental strength. And I think gone are the days when Asians used to be really happy playing in this part of the world. If you look at Arjun Atwal, he went out there on the PGA Tour and made a name for himself and became the first Indian to win on the PGA Tour. He’s been competing at that level for the six, seven years. Jeev Milkha Singh has broken inside the Top 50 in the world a few times.
“I think the guys from this part of the world are really improving their game,” added Bhullar.
The WGC-HSBC Champions will be his 10th straight tournament on the Asian Tour, which started from a trip to Switzerland and all the way through to Japan and now China. With his confidence soaring, Bhullar is naturally ready to compete against the likes of title holder Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson.
With so much to play for these next few weeks, including a $1.2 million top prize in Mission Hills, Bhullar is not letting his focus waver in his goal to achieve more victories.
“Well, to be honest, right now I’m not thinking of anything. I’m only taking it one shot at a time, and I think that kind of attitude has been helping me the last few months, because I’ve realised last year, I travelled too much around the world: I did Japan, American Q-School and back to Asia.
“I’m trying to concentrate on one thing at a time and I think that kind of attitude is really helping me.”