New Delhi: Defending Champion Rikard Karlberg feels it would be more challenging to retain the Indian Open title this year but hoped the minor changes that he made to his game would help him break his winless streak this year and end the season on a high.
Karlberg won two Asian Tour titles at the Delhi Golf Club in his rookie season last year but this year his best result has been a tied 14th place at the recent Macau Open but the Swede is hopeful that his fortunes will turn around at Indian Open.
"The course is playing differently this year because it has rained a lot. It is softer. You have to hit it a little bit more clubs into the greens and off the tees. It will be a little bit more challenging," Karlberg said.
"I`ve played quite a lot in Europe. Haven`t done that good. I`ve made some changes mentally and some technical aspects of my game. It is starting to come together and I`m feeling more comfortable with it. If my putting is good, I know I`ll have a good chance to win again," he added.
Asked to elaborate on the changes he made to his game, Karlberg said it was an attempt to sharpen his shots and extend his repertoire of strokes.
"I wasn`t really struggling but I wanted to make the changes to be able to play every type of shots out there. Sometimes you don`t get the results straight away. I didn`t change much but there`s a different feeling to it," he said.
"I`m working with a mental coach (Anders Haglund), who previously played on the European Tour. I`m trying to work at hitting one shot at a time and trust my game.”
"I`m trying to get what I`ve been hitting on the driving range out on the golf course. That has been quite hard because I have the tendency to be a little bit slower on the golf course," Karlberg added.
The 24-year-old golfer said his aim is to crack the top 10 world ranking.
"My goal this year is to try and inch closer towards the top-10 ranking. That`s my goal in life. I just want to get closer to that goal and become a better player," said Karlberg, who is currently ranked 248.
Asked about the course, Karlberg said, "It has rained a lot here and the greens are softer and the course is playing a bit longer. You have to really commit to putting your short putts because it can jump off your line.
"I`m really just thinking about winning this week. It is good to have some motivation to win, especially if I can qualify for the WGC-HSBC Champions and CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia.”
"It was the same last year as I really wanted to win here to stand a chance of finishing in the top two of the Order of Merit and did just that," he said.