Asian Tour Release – 19 September 2018: Indian star Gaganjeet Bhullar will be aiming to reach double digits in Asian Tour victories at the Asia-Pacific Open Golf Championship Diamond Cup which starts on Thursday.
The in-form Bhullar won his ninth Asian Tour title in Fiji last month and he will be hoping to continue his purple patch at the JP¥150 million (approximately US$1.35 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organization.
The 30-year-old, currently ranked fourth on the Habitat for Humanity Standings, will be among the top contenders which include Scott Hend of Australia, Shugo Imahira, ranked 86th on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) and Korea’s Sanghyun Park, who won his second Asian Tour title last week.
“You can only get better. Normally the second half of the season is packed up with tournaments and everybody including myself starts to gain momentum. All these tournaments are important towards the Habitat for Humanity Standings,” said Bhullar. “The goal is to keep repeating what I’ve been doing in the last six or seven months and give your 100%.
“My caddy and I talked about this at the start of the week. I’ve won in Korea and in other countries but Japan is still new to me! I’m trying to figure out a new game plan here. The golf course looks really nice. The course is in great shape but the only struggle will be if you miss the fairway. The rough is up so you have to hit lots and lots of fairways.”
Bhullar has won in six different countries in his young career and will be looking to add Japan to his list this week. He is one victory from joining Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand as a 10-time Asian Tour winner, behind Thongchai Jaidee (13) and Thaworn Wiratchant (18).
“I’m trying to minimise my errors when playing in this part of the world. Hopefully, I will play well this week. To be honest, I don’t know why Japan is different for me,” added Bhullar. “I’ve had some good rounds in the past but it is about putting the rounds together. This course suits my eye so this could be a good week for me.
“The goal is to reach double digits of victories on the Asian Tour. Before that, I have to remember that I need to continue working hard and the win will come.”
Another player searching for victory this week is Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent, who claimed his third runner-up result in Korea last week. Vincent is arguably the most consistent player in 2018 and has established himself as a genuine contender each time he tees up in an event.
Poom Saksansin of Thailand finished tied second in this event last year, albeit on a different golf course, but he is aiming to go one position better at the par-71 Musashi Country Club, Sasai Course.
Did you know?
- In his nine Asian Tour victories, Bhullar has won in Indonesia (three times), Thailand, Chinese Taipei (twice), Macao, Korea and Fiji.
- He admits that he struggles to play his best in Japan, a country where his best result was tied 51st place in 2009.
- Ranked fourth on the Habitat for Humanity Standings, Bhullar has sealed his place in the CIMB Classic next month but he still needs to fight for a place in the WGC-HSBC Champions. The leading four players (not otherwise exempt) on October 7 will qualify for the tournament in China.
- Bhullar holds the most number of victories by an Indian golfer on the Asian Tour. His next big goal is to win the Habitat for Humanity Standings. He currently trails countryman Shubhankar Sharma by US$116,404.
- Vincent is ranked first in the total against par rankings where he is -101 in 2018. He is incredibly 27 shots to-par better than anyone else in the ranking.
- He has yet to win on the Asian Tour but is edging closer after notching three runner-up results and five other top-10 finishes.
- Poom is a two-time Asian Tour winner. He was in contention at the Asia-Pacific Open Golf Championship Diamond Cup last year before a final round 73 dashed his title hopes.
- The result helped him finish in a career-high eighth position on the Merit rankings and earned a maiden appearance at the 2018 EurAsiaCup where he represented Team Asia.