Bhullar targets Malaysian Open victory

Gaganjeet Bhullar ©Khalid Redza/Asian Tour
Gaganjeet Bhullar ©Khalid Redza/Asian Tour

Kuala Lumpur: India’s rising star Gaganjeet Bhullar says being on top of the Asian Tour Order of Merit will not add unwanted pressure in his search for glory at the US$2.75 million Maybank Malaysian Open.

Bhullar, a four-time Asian Tour winner, enjoyed a second place finish at the Avantha Masters in India last weekend thanks to a battling final round of eight-under-par 64. The result propelled him to the summit of the Order of Merit with winnings of US$262,648.

“If I can carry this form till the end of the season then I will feel some pressure. There are many big tournaments. Subconsciously it is in my mind that I’m leading the Order of Merit and that’s one of my goals to win it but there’s no pressure as of now,” said the 24-year-old.

The young Indian took pride in his never-say-never attitude and is determined to make amends for his close shave at this week’s Maybank Malaysian Open which is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.

“I played really well last week. I hit the ball really good and putted okay. I’m riding high on my confidence and I have a lot of expectations. I’m feeling really good about my game. This is definitely one of my favourite destinations in Asia,” he added.

Korea’s Baek Seuk-hyun, who finished fifth at the Avantha Masters, hopes to continue his hot form where he has yet to miss the halfway cut in three Asian Tour starts. He credited his solid performances to a new training regime where he has lost eight kilograms since the start of the year.

“I know I need to get stronger. I know I have to lose some weight and have skipped dinners to do this. I’ve lost about 8kg since the beginning of this year. I want to keep trying to get it down,” said Baek, currently fourth on the Order of Merit.

Popular Bangladeshi Siddikur has put himself in contention for a second Asian Tour title since 2010 on numerous occasions but has always been let down on the final day. It is something which he hopes to overcome with help from a mental coach.

“I am still figuring out what happened on those last days. I’m talking to my mental coach about this and we’re trying to talk it out to see how we can make it better. I use the same mental coach as Anirban Lahiri, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Rahil Gangjee.

“He indicated that I may be trying too hard in the final round that it’s going the opposite side. Maybe that has been the reason,” he said.

He finished tied eighth at the 2011 Maybank Malaysian Open and is upbeat of his chances even though the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club is known to favour the long hitters.

“This course is a long course but I enjoy playing on these type of courses. Long hitters do not necessarily have an advantage on courses like this as it’s still about course management. You need to place your shots well. If my short game is okay, it’ll be easy to make a score for me,” said Siddikur, the first Bangladeshi to play and win on the Asian Tour.