Atwal aims for first Indian Open title since 1999

New Delhi: Short of practice but rejuvenated after a break, India`s first PGA Tour title winning golfer Arjun Atwal today said he is aiming to round off his consistent year by lifting the Hero Honda Indian Open for the first time in 11 years, this week.

In the capital for the USD 1.25 million tournament, which tees off on Thursday, Atwal was the cynosure of all eyes at the Delhi Golf Club where he played a practice round before addressing a packed press conference.

"I have not practiced much because I was in Kolkata to spend some time with my family and friends. But I am confident of winning here," Atwal said.

"The two weeks at home have recharged my batteries and I am really feeling fresh," he added.

Looking back at what has been a fantastic year for him, during which he lifted the Wyndham Championships in August to become the first Indian winner on the PGA Tour, Atwal said he couldn`t have asked for a better turn of events.

"It has been a consistent year for me. I have played well enough. It has been great because I have made three top-10 finishes in 13 tournaments. So, it has been solid," he said.

The 37-year-old Orlando-based professional went on to recall his 1999 Indian Open triumph in Kolkata.

"It`s still quite fresh in my mind. It was in Kolkata, at my home course. I hadn`t played well coming into it but won the Indian Open. I got a lot of confidence from there on," he said.

On the course conditions here, Atwal said it can get slightly precarious if the wind is strong.

"The course is in great condition. I have never seen greens like these during practice. But if it gets windy, this course can get tricky. A winning score could be anywhere between seven-under to 18-under," he said.

Asked which aspects of his game he would have to improve, Atwal said it would certainly be his short game.

"You have to get the one-two (chip and putt) right to win," he explained.

Quizzed about his plans for the next season, Atwal said he has not yet decided his schedule but he would as usual be mostly in the US because of the ranking points.

"I don`t want to lose my rankings there. So, I have to play in the USA. So, for all those who think that I don`t play that often in Asia, it`s not because I don`t want to, it`s because I have to be in the US for the sake of my rankings," he said.




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