Ibaraki Prefecture (Japan): Not in the best of form this year but Indian golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar said he is hopeful of turning it around for the better when he tees up at the Asia-Pacific Open Mitsubishi Diamond Cup tomorrow.
The five-time Asian Tour winner has made only one cut in nine appearances this year but is still confident of turning the corner at the 150 million yen (approximately USD 1.2 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.
Bhullar will be joined at the Otone Country Club by defending champion Hiroyuki Fujita of Japan, an in-form Roy Ishikawa, who won in Japan last week, S.S.P. Chawrasia of India, Jason Knutzon of the United States, who finished tied second last year, and 2011 Order of Merit winner Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines.
The 27-year-old Bhullar believes he will bounce back from an uncharacteristic run of poor results after working tirelessly on a new swing change.
"I've been practising almost every day for a good three to four months. There's no reason in general why I haven't made as many cuts as I would like to. I didn't make a big swing change; it was more of working on my basics, the stance and posture. Once I get that in my head then you will start seeing the results," said Bhullar.
"I was facing a problem with my driver on the right to left holes. That was the motive behind the change. The main principal of golf is to repeat it over and over again. I'm trying to make it easier so I can keep repeating it," he explained.
Playing in his eighth year on the Asian Tour, Bhullar knows he has to stay patient and keep a cool head.
"For me, patience is important. I need to have some patience and things will come back soon. I've played a lot of golf and the more I play, the more mature I get. This will help me in the long run and staying patient is what I'm trying to do," said Bhullar.
Title-holder Fujita is delighted to return to the venue of his victory last year. The 46-year-old hopes to continue his momentum after making four consecutive cuts which includes two top-10 results.
"I really hope I can play like how I played last year. There are times when I can't seem to control my shots and putts. If I hit the ball to where I want it to be then I'm confident that I can walk away with a good score. My only concern now is if I can't control my ball," said Fujita.
Pagunsan, whose only Asian Tour win was in 2007, is determined to repeat last year's performance where he finished in tied ninth place.
"So far my game is good. I was struggling before but it seems to be coming along nicely. It is nice to be here because there are a lot of my old friends playing. I need to boost my rankings on the Japan Golf Tour so this will be a good week to do so. I'll try my best," said the Filipino.
Currently ranked 17th on the Order of Merit, Knutzon, who finished two shots behind Fujita last year, is aiming to qualify for the CIMB Classic in October and WGC-HSBC Champions in November which are staged in Malaysia and China respectively.
As of October 26, the leading four golfers from the Order of Merit will earn starting places in the US$8.5 million HSBC Champions while the leading 10 players will qualify for the USD seven million CIMB Classic.