Indian golfers shine in Asian Tour`s first half

New Delhi: Gaganjeet Bhullar`s second title on the circuit and a few top-10 finishes were the highlights of the Indian golfers` fine run in the first half of the Asian Tour events this year.

Even as the established stars led by Jeev Milkha Singh, Jyoti Randhawa and Shiv Kapur, are busy playing on European Tour, the new lot is on its way to make a mark for themselves.

The season began with the 21-year-old Bhullar winning his second Asian Tour title in a matter of months.

Bhullar, who also made his Major debut at the British Open last year, won the season-opening Asian Tour International and underlined his growing potential.

He had won the 2009 Indonesia President Invitational for his maiden triumph and had three other second place finishes and two other top-10s in a season that saw him finish in sixth place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Even as Bhullar has been steady, Rahil Gangjee, who won in his rookie season way back in 2004, made a great comeback in the first half of 2010.

The smiling, slightly-built but long hitting Kolkata golfer, has enjoyed two top-10s and two other top-15 finishes in just six starts which has placed him 13th on the merit list, one behind Bhullar.

Gangjee was tied 14th at the co-sanctioned Avantha Masters on home soil and then finished 10th at the Maybank Malaysian Open where SSP Chowrasia was tied 19th and then added a tied ninth at the SAIL Open. In his last appearance on the Asian Tour, he was tied 13th at Queen`s Cup.

"It has been a decent season so far and I hope to build on it in the second half which has many big events. I have worked hard on my game and the results are showing," said Gangjee.

Himmat Rai and Anirban Lahiri are two other fresh faced golfers from India to make a mark this season.

While both of them are still hunting for their maiden wins on the Asian Tour, they have had consistent results.

Rai has posted two top-20 finishes and Lahiri has one. But Lahiri, who had five top-10s last season, is looking at a breakthrough in the second half which is sprinkled with numerous big-money events.

From event perspective, Indian golf is placing itself as one of the premier halts with three high profile events. Even as Hero Honda Indian Open is one of the big events of the second half, the Asian Tour added the Avantha Masters, a USD 2.1 million event co-sanctioned with European Tour.

In the SAIL Open, which entered its third year, Indians occupied second to sixth places, besides another one in tied ninth. It was among the most successful home events ever for Indian golfers with six others in top-20.