New kid off the tee, Bhullar hopes to make a mark

February 27th, 2008 - 4:11 pm ICT by admin  

Gurgaon, Feb 27 (IANS) Indian golf is now replete with a bunch of promising youngsters, all hungry to emulate the feats of the big guns like Jeev Milkha Singh, Jyoti Randhawa, Arjun Atwal and new star S.S.P. Chowrasia. “The current bunch has a lot of confidence and they say, if they (the big guns) can do it, why not us. And they have great belief in themselves. With so many tournaments coming up in India there is more opportunity and they manage themselves, too,” Jeev says.

One such youngster is Gaganjeet Bhullar, who turns 20 in April, and is one of the faces for the future. And that future is not too far.

Just last week, he was in contention on the final day of the SAIL Open. He ended fifth.

“I had a good tournament at the SAIL Open last week and finished tied fifth. I love the golf course at Jaypee Greens, which is also a great venue. I played a lot of junior golf tournaments there previously and also won a few amateur and professional tournaments there. I played really well last week except for the last few holes in the final round,” said Bhullar.

“I am trying to keep playing my best for this week. It was nice to be in contention at the SAIL Open and I thought I could play well on the last day and have had a chance to win the tournament.”

This week Bhullar is looking to make a mark at an even higher level - Johnnie Walker Classic.

“The DLF Golf and Country Club has a great golf course. I’ve played a lot of good golf here so I’m looking forward to this week’s Johnnie Walker Classic. I’m playing well and the course is in very good shape. Let’s see what happens this week.”

Talking of his fledgling career, Bhullar added: “I’ve had four runner-up finishes last year on the Indian Tour, so I have come close a few times. I’m feeling good and I’m hitting the ball well. I think a win is not too far.”

Last year at Pertamina Indonesia President Invitational, Bhullar was within hand shaking distance of his first career win. He was one ahead when he finished as the club house leader, but Filipino Juvic Pagunsan knocked in a 72nd hole eagle to inch ahead and grab the title. But Bhullar took that well. “I did not lose the tournament, he won it,” he said.

“Since finishing second in the Pertamina Indonesia President Invitational last year, my life has changed a lot. I got the recognition on the Asian Tour. It’s been very good. To play in different countries every week has been a great exposure for me. It’s such a great Tour, which is good for the Asian players. I think the Asian Tour is such a great thing for us and the Tour is doing a good job.”

“Through the last few months, my confidence has increased with each passing week. Every time you play in different conditions, you always learn something new. I have had the opportunity to play with good players and when I play with the experienced players, I try to learn something new.”

Currently playing on a country spot, Bhullar is looking to secure a full card for 2009 and who knows maybe even a card into the European Tour.

“For the big events to come to India, it’s a great thing for Indian golf. A lot of sponsors are coming in to support the game now. And when Indian players win on Indian soil, it’s a different feeling. Chowrasia won the Indian Masters a few weeks back and Indian golfers seem to be doing better than cricket players! We are getting mentions all around the world and it’s good for us.

“A week before SSP won, I played with him in the third round of a local tournament in the last group. To be honest, I played better than him that day but then in the next week, he goes on to win a big tournament. It’s a good thing and it gives all of us a boost. If SSP can win a tournament, so can I,” Bhullar says.

“I don’t feel any pressure when I’m playing on home soil as it’s our job. We have to face the pressure and I love it. When you play with good players, you want to also play well.”

That’s the kind of confidence Bhullar will carry into the Johnnie Walker this week. And who knows what the outcome will be.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Sports |