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Rookie Bhullar hopes to shine

other Updated: Jun 27, 2009 22:45 IST
Vinod Kumar
Vinod Kumar
Hindustan Times
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Rain and gusty winds are expected to send the mercury plummeting during the British Open, but Gaganjeet Bhullar is out to put his best foot forward on his maiden appearance at the world's oldest Major.

The youngest Indian to compete in the 138th Open Championship at the Ailsa Course in Turnberry, Bhullar, 21, will leave for Scotland on Monday to acclimatise well in advance before the July 16 tee off.

“I will play on all the courses around Turnberry, the idea is get a hang of the playing conditions,” he said.

Aware of the challenges ahead, Bhullar said: “The conditions are going to be tough and it will not be easy. If it's raining on one hole, the wind is howling on the next. These are the things I need to watch out for and prepare myself mentally and physically.”

The young Kapurthala pro had played few tournaments in England two years ago, and feels the experience would stand him in good stead.

“The conditions then were similar to what I'll face in Turnberry,” he said, adding, “Though I am not used to them, I know how to cope up.”

Apart from adjusting to the weather, Bhullar is also making slight adjustments to his game.

“Apart from polishing the short game, I am working on my ball flight and trying to get it a bit lower. In Asia, there is hardly any wind so we are used to hitting the ball higher, but in Turnberry I will have to hit it flat,” he said.

The chance to play a practice round with childhood hero Jeev Milkha Singh has Bhullar looking ahead in anticipation.

“Though I am not sure if it's going to happen, but if it does it will do a world of good to me. Jeev has been playing great golf for the last few years and I can draw a lot from his wealth of experience,” he said.

“It is my first Major and expectations are really high but I am mentally ready. I want to give my best and I will not play for the cut, I am aiming higher than that and would like to finish in the top-10,” he said.

“I am at that stage of my career where every such opportunity is a learning experience. I guess this process will go on for the next four-five years.”