Gaganjeet Bhullar aims to mark Asian Tour '100' with a win

The sixth edition of the Ballantine's Championship is the first event to be played in Korea on the Asian Tour this season and will be sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and Korea PGA.

Updated: April 24, 2013 10:54 IST
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Four-time Asian Tour winner Gaganjeet Bhullar of India aims to make his 100th Asian Tour event at the €2,205,000 (Approximately US$2.8 million) Ballantine's Championship a memorable one when it begins at the Blackstone Golf Club on Thursday, a tournament press release said.

Just like the Asian Tour which has grown leaps and bounds and is now in its 10th season, the 24-year old too has progresses immensely since making his debut on the same tour in 2007.

Bhullar reinforced his rising star status with two victories in Taipei and Macau last year to end the year with a fifth-placed finish on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, which is also his career-best.

"It has been a great achievement for the Asian Tour and for me. I've really grown up as a player on this Tour and I really respect the Asian Tour," said Bhullar, who is currently second on the Order of Merit.

"This is the Tour where I started playing golf and it really feels good to be playing in my 100th event this week," added the Indian.

The sixth edition of the Ballantine's Championship is the first event to be played in Korea on the Asian Tour this season and will be sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and Korea PGA.

Bhullar is relishing the opportunity to take on the best players from the European Tour again, having come close by finishing second at the co-sanctioned Avantha Masters on home soil last month.

"This is the only Tour which gives us enough opportunity to go out there and compete with the good players from the European Tour," said Bhullar.

"I've played on this course a few times and to be honest, it really suits my eye. The fairways are quite wide and the greens are a little treacherous. You've got to be on the right side of the greens but at the end of the day, long hitters will definitely benefit on this course," added Bhullar.

While Bhullar has cast an eye on lifting the prestigious Ballantine's Championship trophy, he is also excited with his newly-established charity foundation where he will help fund promising juniors and amateur golfers from the Indian Golf Union (IGU) circuit who cannot afford to make golf a career option.

"I always feel that it's important for me to give back to society and this has always been my childhood dream to do something for upcoming golfers and underprivileged kids in India," said Bhullar.

"The goal is to promote the game of golf in India and hopefully by the end of this year, I'll be able to pick a few junior kids from the IGU ranking and try to support them financially from their coaching to equipment," added Bhullar.

Meanwhile Bhullar's childhood idol, Jeev Milkha Singh is pleased to return to Korea for another shot at glory at the Ballantine's Championship.

"The Ballantine's Championship is a good event and it's in Asia and it's good for the Asian Tour. I've been playing in Korea since 1993 where I've enjoyed lots of success and it's good to be back," said Singh, who is an Asian Tour honorary member.

Against a strong international field that features Major winners like South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen and fellow honorary member Y.E. Yang of Korea, Singh believes that putting will hold the key in deciding the winner in the land of the morning calm this week.

"Courses in Korea are normally very hilly. The key to winning this week is distance control and you've got to putt well on these greens. If you're a good putter, you'll do well anywhere in the world," said Singh, who was Asia's number one in 2006 and 2008.

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