Khalin Joshi on his expectations from Hero Indian Open 2018

Khalin Joshi, who was Shubhankar Sharma’s roommate when the latter won the Malaysian Championships, cannot help feeling inspired by his friend, who is now leading at the World …

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Khalin Joshi, who was Shubhankar Sharma’s roommate when the latter won the Malaysian Championships, cannot help feeling inspired by his friend, who is now leading at the World Golf Championships in Mexico in the company of the world’s very best.

Par is going to be your friend. The Gary Player-designed course at DLF Golf and Country Club is a real test of patience and everyone is bound to make some mistakes – Khalin Joshi Hero Indian Open 2018

Rising star Joshi, who is still looking for his maiden title on Asian and European Tours, was Tied-5th as Sharma stormed to a career-changing win in Kuala Lumpur.

Now Joshi feels he is ready to do the same at the upcoming US$1.75 million Hero Indian Open next week.

Anirban Lahiri and Chawrasia ready to strike at EurAsia Cup
Anirban Lahiri and Chawrasia ready to strike at EurAsia Cup

Joshi will not be the only Indian youngster looking to hitting it big time. His Bengaluru colleague, S Chikkarangappa, often seen as one of the most talented youngsters on the Indian scene, wants to do likewise and add to the two Asian Development Tour titles he already has.

In recent years Anirban Lahiri was the major inspiration, but now Shubhankar has kindled the fire in the ‘not-so-young’ category, too. Shiv Kapur, who won three times in 2017, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Ajeetesh Sandhu, all of whom are few years older than Shubhankar, Joshi and Chikka, can also feel the adrenalin.

And, SSP Chawrasia, naturally has a ‘big milestone’ ahead of himself – as he tries to become the first player ever to make it ‘three-in-a-row” at the Hero Indian Open following his wins in 2016 and 2017.

Then there is the generation above them all, led by Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa, who set the ball rolling for Indian golf in the mid-1990s and as the new millennium arrived. The ‘Big three’ have now and then shown a spark or two – like Jeev contending in Indonesia in late 2016 before finishing T2 or like Atwal losing a play-off at Mauritius last December. They would certainly relish giving the youngsters a run for their money.

The 25-year-old Joshi, who hails from Bengaluru, wants to keep things simple at the challenging Gary Player designed DLF Golf and Country Club from March 8 to 11, 2018.

“Par is going to be your friend. The Gary Player-designed course at DLF Golf and Country Club is a real test of patience and everyone is bound to make some mistakes. Some holes are really challenging and they demand great golf shots,” said Joshi.

Joshi is fired up to win his first Asian Tour title at the Hero Indian Open after successfully retaining his Tour card for the 2019 season.

With the pressure off his chest, the young Indian hopes to keep a cool head in the heat of battle at his National Open which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.

“I can get a bit carried away after a bad hole, but I’ve learned to deal with my emotions better. I missed the cut in 2016 and 2017, but I’m back with a vengeance! I’ve never felt better going into the tournament and I hope to be in contention come Sunday,” he said.

Top contenders from Asia’s premier circuit such as Australia’s Scott Hend and India’s Anirban Lahiri

The 54th edition of the Hero Indian Open will feature an elite 144-man field that includes five Asian Tour Order of Merit winners, more than 40 Asian Tour champions, as well as a bevy of international names.

Top contenders from Asia’s premier circuit such as Australia’s Scott Hend and India’s Anirban Lahiri, Order of Merit winners in 2016 and 2015 respectively, will tee it up alongside Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjørn of Denmark, crowd favourite Andrew Johnston of England and 2016 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Emiliano Grillo of Argentina.

The last two editions of the Hero Indian Open was won by Chawrasia and now the six-time Asian Tour winner will be attempting to be the first golfer in the tournament’s 54-year history to lift the trophy three consecutive times.

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