Dongguan: Gaganjeet Bhullar, winner of two titles this season and a string of top-10s on Asian tour, though failed to get a practice round on Wednesday, he still exuded confidence of extending his fine run of form this week at the USD 7 million WGC-HSBC Champions.
Jeev Milkha Singh, India`s best-known name on the international circuit for more than a decade, is the other Indian golfer here this week. He won the Scottish Open and qualified for the event.
This will be Bhullar`s 10th tournament week in a row and a visa problem led to his late arrival yesterday, yet the 24-year-old Indian does not rule out the possibility of adding to the string of wins in his fledgling career.
With two wins in the past two months and a top-10 at last week`s co-sanctioned Asian Tour and PGA Tour event CIMB Classic, Bhullar, on the eve of the tournament today, seemed all set to face 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 in a press conference today. "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 today 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 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," said Bhullar.
Bhullar is ready to compete against the likes of title holder Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson.
"At this level, fitness is very important. And I have been working on my fitness the last four and a half years, and now I can feel the difference. And the other thing is, you know, I`m only 24 years old and I have nothing to do back home, and I just love being on Tour," said Bhullar.
"I mean, every week we get to see different countries, different people, lovely food to eat and Asian Tour, European Tour, this is the destination for all of the golfers in this part of the world. More than golf, I just love being on different venues," he added.
With so much to play for these next few weeks including a USD 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. If you look at the next few big weeks, it can definitely change my playing privileges for the next few years. That is definitely there in the back of my mind, but right now, I think it`s only one shot at a time, and just visualise the shot and execute it, as simple as that," he said.