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Jeev Milkha Singh, Gaganjeet Bhullar star attractions at Panasonic Open

Jeev says that he has never won at the Delhi Golf Club so he wants to get this monkey off his back by winning the t

Press Trust Of India

Updated:April 3, 2013, 3:38 PM IST
Jeev Milkha Singh, Gaganjeet Bhullar star attractions at Panasonic Open
Jeev says that he has never won at the Delhi Golf Club so he wants to get this monkey off his back by winning the t

New Delhi: Jeev Milkha Singh, returning to the Delhi Golf Course after five years, and the fast-rising Gaganjeet Bhullar will be the cynosure of all eyes when they tee up along with some top Indian and Asian golfers at the USD 300,000 Panasonic Open India starting here on Thursday.

"I am glad to be back after five years. I finished fourth when I played here the last time and aiming to win this week," Jeev said in the pre-tournament press conference at the Delhi Golf Club here on Wednesday. "Competition is very good and I am looking forward to a good week. I have played well in the Panasonic Open in Japan and hoping to do well here also. I have never won at the Delhi Golf Club and I want to get this monkey off my back," said the seasoned pro.

Twice Asia number one Jeev would like to see a truce between the Asian Tour and its rival OneAsia so the continent can realise its potential as golf's next big market, the golfer said on Wednesday.

For the second time this year, the rival tours went head-to-head last week with Australian Scott Hend winning the Asian Tour's inaugural Chiangmai Golf Classic in Thailand while South Korean Choi Ho-sung clinched the Indonesia PGA Championship on the OneAsia circuit.

Singh was one of the four Asian Tour order of merit winners to tee off in Thailand and the Indian said he wanted the rival tours to reach a compromise. "I just hope that compromise takes place for the betterment of the game in the region," Singh, an honorary Asian Tour member, said on the eve of the Panasonic Open India at the Delhi Golf Club.

"Because Asia is the market, I just feel that this is where golf is going to grow and get really big," said Singh, adding his primary loyalty lay with the Asian Tour. Asian Tour has been there for so many years. OneAsia just started. So the loyalty obviously stays with the Asian Tour. Asian Tour has given us a lot. Our job as players is to go out and make the most of it by playing," he added.

Also competing at the third edition of the Asian Tour event would be Bhullar, who made a fine start to the season by finishing second in the European Tour's Avantha Masters. "Having cracked inside the top-100 (in the world rankings) has given me a lot of confidence. The way I am striking the ball, victory is coming very soon," said the Kapurthala-lad. "I had a great start to the season. Last season was also good for me and it has given me a lot of confidence," he added.

Joining them would be inaugural champion Anirban Lahiri and the defending champion Digvijay Singh. "It's always nice to come back to a course where you have done well. I was quite fortunate to win here. I am looking forward to a solid week of game," said Lahiri. "Till the last few holes last year, I wasn't giving myself any chance. This year, I feel I am a little more consistent than what I was last year," added Digvijay.

The big international name in the field is Oliver Wilson, the Englishman who finished second nine times on the European Tour and reached the pinnacle when he represented Europe at the 2008 Ryder Cup. The top-three players at the Panasonic Open India will be extended invitations to the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open, sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation, in Osaka, Japan in September.

"The course was firm but rains have made it softer. I feel the scoring is going to be low because the greens are softer," said Jeev. Similar was the opinion of Lahiri, who said, "The DGC is usually a little firmer and faster. Unless it stays dry, it is going play a little different."

"The rough is a little up. The greens are good and course is playing slightly longer. It is going to a low-scoring week," added Bhullar.

Players from over 19 nations are represented in the field.

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