Bhullar, Jeev lead Indian challenge at European Masters

Crans Montana (Switzerland): Indian golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar will be riding high on confidence as he returns to the Omega European Masters at the Euro 2.1 million showpiece event here on Thursday.

The four-time Asian Tour winner received a timely confidence boost ahead of his Swiss campaign when he was conferred the prestigious Arjuna Award, India`s second highest sporting honour only last week.

The 25-year-old is now determined to repay the faith bestowed on him by putting up a worthy performance befitting of his status as one of India`s finest golfers.

Only three Indian golfers have won an European Tour title ?- this is a jointly sanctioned event between European and Asian Tours ?- and Bhullar will bid to join that league.

Arjun Atwal, Jeev Milkha Singh and SSP Chowrasia have won European Tour titles, though only Jeev has won it in Europe.

Jeev, Chowrasia, Shiv Kapur, Anirban Lahiri, Himmat Rai, Digvijay Singh and C Muniyappa are the other Indians in the field.

"I`ve been feeling good as I played well at the Avantha Masters and I just got felicitated with the Arjuna award by the President of India which is a big achievement for me. It was like a dream come true as it`s the second highest award for an Indian sports person," said Bhullar.

"It has been a year since I last played here and the past year has definitely changed my career. I won two big tournaments on the Asian Tour last year and got a lot of world ranking points," he added.

Bhullar has showed his knack for the big occasion when he finished second at the Avantha Masters on home soil earlier this year and is eager to show he can win his first co-sanctioned event at the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.

"My golf is good and I just want to try to win every single tournament that I play," said Bhullar.

Currently in second place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, Bhullar also believes the Omega European Masters will provide him with the opportunity to overtake or narrow the gap with merit leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand.

"I know the gap is big but there are several big tournaments coming up and you never know. Golf is a funny game. Two, three good weeks and you can definitely win the Order of Merit," said Bhullar.

The Omega European Masters is the only tournament on European soil to be jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour and will mark the start of the second half of the Asian Tour season.

The Asian Tour will be represented by no fewer than 25 Asian Tour winners and will feature the likes of merit champions including Jeev and Thailand`s Thaworn Wiratchant and Thongchai Jaidee.

The European Tour will feature the likes of Denmark`s Thomas Bjorn, Italy`s Matteo Manassero, Major winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland, 2010 Omega European Masters champion Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain as well as Scotland`s Paul Lawrie and Richie Ramsay who will be returning to defend his title.


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