Bhullar ready to lead local challenge at Indian Open

Gaganjeet Bhullar - Order-of-merit_0.jpg.crop_display.jpg

Indian golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar insists he is not feeling any pressure ahead of the $1.25 million Hero Indian Open as he chases a third Asian Tour win this season.

Bhullar won in Macau last week and is the man of the moment, but he is not worried about being in the limelight as he leads the local charge at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) course here.

"I feel the next generation of Indian golfers is ready to take over. The responsibility is on our shoulders (leading the Indian charge with Anirban Lahiri and Himmat Rai in the absence of Jeev Milkha Singh and Arjun Atwal) and we are ready for the challenge," said Bhullar, who has won four Asian Tour titles in his career.

Lahiri, Rai and Shiv Kapur, all winners on the Asian Tour, will also feature in the event which starts Thursday alongside Peter Hanson of Sweden, ranked 25th in the world, Richie Ramsay of Scotland and defending champion David Gleeson of Australia.

Bhullar is playing some of his best golf in recent months where he won two titles in a span of a month which subsequently swelled his career earnings on the Asian Tour to $1,001,045.

"My game is in a good shape and I've started to putt well. There were a few technical mistakes which I made in my posture but I've sorted that out. That could be one of the reasons for my two victories," said the 24-year-old.

Gleeson uncharacteristically missed eight straight cuts from last year into the 2012 Asian Tour season but is showing glimpse of a comeback after finishing tied 17th at the Macau Open last week.

Home favourite Lahiri, a two-time Asian Tour winner, believes this will be his best chance to add his name on the Indian Open trophy as the event is played on his home course.

"The last few events haven't been great but I've found form in patches. There's no better place to be on your home course and a place where you are comfortable when you are not 100 percent in your game and looking for things to fall into place," said Lahiri.

Ramsay, winner of the Omega European Masters which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour, hopes to overcome jetlag in time to launch a title assault.

The two-time winner in Europe is wary of the strong challenge this week where no more than 40 Asian Tour players from 24 countries are playing.

"I travelled from Scotland on Sunday 6pm and reached India on Monday 6pm local time. I'm just trying to stay awake and that's tough. I love my sleep and fall asleep all over the place," said Ramsay.

The Indian Open is staged at the KGA course for the first time.

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