Hong Kong: Indian golfers Anirban Lahiri and Rahil Gangjee Wednesday spoke of their eagerness to play in the Hong Kong Open, expressing their confidence of putting up a good show in the $1.3 million tournament.
"I had a really good outing last year. I played really well and had my best finish in this event (tied 12th). I'm starting to like the golf course and understanding how to play on it," Anirban said, in a press statement ahead of the commencement of the tournament at the Hong Kong Golf Club Thursday.
"I'm glad to be back here and looking forward to playing well. I'm relaxed and hungry to do well."
Rahil Gangjee said his thorough knowledge of the course gave him confidence, describing the course as one of his favourite greens.
"I have to step up in my game this week. This is one of my favourite golf courses. We've been playing here for so many years. The course sets up well for me," he said.
But he said his performances this year gave him a reality check and admitted that he needs to step up his game.
"It was on my mind (qualifying for the CIMB Classic) even when I was playing in Chinese Taipei (Mercuries Taiwan Masters). I was trying to catch Cameron Smith but he is still slightly ahead of me. The winners' of the past one month has been overtaking me slowly and gradually on the Order of Merit. I went from fourth to 12th in about a month and a half so it is kind of a reality check," the 27-year-old said.
Four-time Major champion South African Ernie Els will be making his first appearance in the 56th edition of the event.
Els will play alongside title-holder Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain, Asia's first Major champion Y.E. Yang of South Korea and current Asian Tour No.1 David Lipsky of the United States of America.
"I'm actually quietly optimistic and excited about my game. But I'd love to get it going here this week and see what Miguel and the rest of the crew does out there," the former World No. 1 golfer, who turns 45 Friday, said.