SSP Chawrasia, Rahil Gangjee To Spearhead Indian Challenge at Queen's Cup
Other Indians in the fray are Chiragh Kumar, who made the cut last week in Austria, one-time Asian Tour winner Himmat Rai, two-time winner on Asian Development Tour S Chikkarangappa, Shubhankar Sharma, Khalin Joshi and Amardip Malik
SSP Chawrasia and Rahil Gangjee will lead a strong Indian challenge at the Queen's Cup golf beginning at the Santiburi Samui Country Club Wednesday. As Chowrasia tries to get into top gear in the run-up to the European summer, where he is headed after this followed by the Olympic Games, Gangjee is still seeking his second Asian Tour title, 12 years after his first one.
Other Indians in the fray at the USD 300,000 Asian Tour event are Chiragh Kumar, who made the cut last week in Austria, one-time Asian Tour winner Himmat Rai, two-time winner on Asian Development Tour S Chikkarangappa, Shubhankar Sharma, Khalin Joshi and Amardip Malik. Abhijit Chadha and Shankar Das are among reserves who could make the main field should there be some pull-outs.
Gangjee, who has enjoyed three top-10s and two top-20s this season, is anticipating a good week in Samui, both on and off the golf course.
"It doesn't matter what the prize purse we play here. Everybody loves coming to Samui. This place is amazing. You have to be on your game to play on this golf course. I've had a few top-10s here, but this place has been blowing hot and cold for me. It treats me well and then it treats me badly! But this year, I'm feeling good," said Gangjee, who is currently ranked 14th on the Order of Merit.
He credited his strong start to 2016 to work done with a sports psychologist where the focus has been on his post-shot attitude.
"We've done some things which have helped me. Things like how I handle my reaction after a shot, that's helped me stay calmer on the golf course," he said. "It's been a year now working with the psychologist (Jay Lee Nair). There's a lot of neuro linguistic stuff, a lot of hypnosis which I've done before too. We get into a deep relaxation state and (she starts) feeding positive sentences. You're still in control but your mind accepts instructions easier."
He added, "I'm working with Jay Lee Nair, who is based in Singapore. I needed a system put in place. There are questions which I ask and it's answered. I speak to her regularly on the phone and rarely face to face."
Chawrasia said, "I have been playing well and I love coming to Samui, it's a lovely place and this week was free, so I decide to play here. I also love the course here."
He added, "After this there is a lot of events in Europe and I am also looking forward to the Olympic Games in Rio." Former Asian Tour number one Liang Wen-chong of China will be gunning for a winning debut at the Queen's Cup to revive his hopes of qualifying for the Olympic Games.
The Chinese star was bumped out of the race to Rio de Janeiro following countryman Wu Ashun's victory in Austria over the weekend but he has vowed to keep fighting starting with this week's Asian Tour stop.
Other top stars in the field include title holder Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand, big-hitting Aussie star Scott Hend, Korea's rising star Jeunghun Wang and Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman.
With Wu rising to 127th in the latest Official World Golf Ranking and Li Hao-tong lying seven rungs below, the 195th ranked Liang has four more tournaments to overtake either golfer to qualify for China's two-man team for Rio.
Straight-shooting Siddikur is happy to return to his happy hunting ground where in six previous appearances at the Queen's Cup, he has finished top-three on three occasions and not finished lower than 16th place.
The 31-year-old is also keen to atone for the disappointment of losing to Wang at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open last month where he led by three shots with three holes remaining.