Shanghai: India's Gaganjeet Bhullar is hopeful of causing an upset after he opened his campaign with a three-under-par 69 to take a share of eighth place at the USD 8.5million WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai on Thursday.
Although Bhullar trails first round leader Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland by four shots, India's sole representative at the Shanghai showpiece is confident of upstaging the star-studded field that have gathered at the Sheshan International Golf Club this week.
"There's still a lot of golf left and my hopes are really high. I'm playing well and striking the ball really well and I guess anything and everything is possible over the next three days," said Bhullar.
Bhullar's confidence comes from his battling performance where he overcame a stumbling start in his opening eight holes before finding his way back into the mix with five birdies starting from the par-four nine.
"I was two-over after eight holes and I guess I was trying to figure out the green speed then," said Bhullar.
"But after that, I got really comfortable on the back-nine. I gave myself lots of birdie opportunities and I was glad I took advantage of all of them," added the Indian.
Sharing eighth place with six other players that include Dustin Johnson of the United States, Northern Ireland Graeme McDowell and Asian Tour honorary member and International Ambassador Ernie Els of South Africa, Bhullar believes the gap between players from Asia and the rest of the world will be closed once they find their self-belief.
"I guess the only difference between us, Asian Tour players and these other world-class players lies in our mental strength. With more and more opportunities to play in the big tournaments in this part of the world, we'll definitely be on par with them very soon," said Bhullar.