New Delhi: With two wins in his maiden Asian Tour season, Indian golfer Rashid Khan is now planning to secure a European Tour card and would go through the qualifiers later this year.
"I am planning to go for European Tour qualifying in October this year," Rashid told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of Hero Indian Open, which will make its debut on the prestigious European Tour from February 19-22.
"I really want to get my ranking high to qualify for Olympics. We have Anirban (Lahiri). He has been playing very well for last couple of years. I have to play more Asian Tour event and that is reason, I will play may be just two or three events in India and spend more time in Asian Tour," he added.
The 23-year-old golfer won the SAIL-SBI Open and the Asian Tour's Chiangmai Golf Classic last year.
Talking about his victories, Rashid said: "I was not expecting to win two events in first year of Asian Tour. I barely made my cut in 2013. When I was playing in SBI Open, I thought that since I have done well here, coming close to winning it in 2013, I thought I can do better. I did well and it was a breakthrough win.
"The next win was in Thailand and it was a different feeling because you are competing against PGA Tour players. So, I really enjoyed the tournament," he added.
Rashid had edged out Bangladesh's Siddikur Rahman in the play-off at the Delhi Golf Club after both the players finished the regulation 72 holes at 18-under 270. The young golfer is now hoping for another good performance at the USD 1.5 million Indian Open.
"DGC is like my second home. It is just few minutes from my house and I love playing there. There are so many players, who want to win at DGC. So, now when I go to DGC for practice, there are people who tell me 'listen you have to win'. It is a really good opportunity."
"We have lots of co-sanctioned events with European Tour. Everyone wants to be in that tour and do well. If I can do well at Indian Open then I will be there. My first event this season is Maybank Malaysian Open starting in the first week next month, Rashid, who trains under his uncle Maqbool Khan. Whenever I need anything, I call him," Rashid said.
Another Delhi golfer, Chirag Kumar, who will also tee off at the Delhi Golf course for the Indian Open, said, "I have lost my card in Asian Tour after finishing at 65th. Top 60 in the order of merit make the cut and I lost it by around 4000-5000 dollars. So it was obviously very disappointing.
"I still will be playing a lot on the Asian Tour. I have a very high country exemption. So if I play well enough I should get my card back. Indian Open is a big event and it will be a great chance. So the priority is to get back my card. I hope I get it this year."
Talking about his game, Chirag said: "I played so much golf last year towards the end, I didn't get time to work on my part of my game. Last week or 10 days I have been working on some technical changes. So hopefully everything will settle down by the time I start the season with a PGTI event ahead of the India Open."