Bhullar and Lahiri eye strong debut in World Cup

Thu 14 Nov 2013

Bhullar and Lahiri eye strong debut in World Cup

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Kuala Lumpur, November 14: Gaganjeet Bhullar and Anirban Lahiri believe their debut appearance at next week’s ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf is a massive boost for the rise of a new generation of Indian golf stars.
The World Cup debutants plan to bring glory to their nation with a strong showing at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Australia from November 21-24 as they vie for a lucrative prize pot of US$8 million in the 60-man field.
“The next generation of Indian golfers is taking over,” said Bhullar. “I guess we have to take up the responsibility. Times have changed, a lot of youngsters are coming up and playing well on the Asian Tour. I guess it shows the gap has narrowed between the younger generation and the veterans like Jeev Milkha Singh and Arjun Atwal,” he added.
Lahiri said: “Both Gaganjeet and I have stepped our games up in the last 24 months and it is great that we get rewarded by playing in the World Cup.”
The 25-year-old Bhullar and close friend Lahiri, who is a year older, have been pushing each other up the upper echelons of the Asian Tour. They initially teamed up as amateurs to help India win the silver medal at the Asian Games in 2006 and in the past four seasons as pros, they have won a combined seven Asian Tour titles to cement their star status on the region’s premier Tour.
To add the icing on the cake, Lahiri wants to put on a top show at Royal Melbourne to show that Indian golf is in good hands from the days when Singh, Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa brought glory by capturing the prestigious Asian Tour Order of Merit titles on four occasions.
“The World Cup of Golf is something that I’m looking forward to. A couple of years ago, Gaganjeet and I had a great chance at the qualifying event but we missed out. That was a heart break, so it will be nice to finally get to play,” said Lahiri, who is ranked fourth on the Asian Tour following one victory and three runner-up finishes.
Bhullar is equally fired up to represent his nation. “This is going to be my first World Cup and I’m excited. It will be a great experience for me. Golf is an individual sport so the World Cup has a different charm in it when you get the opportunity to represent your country,” he said.
Both Lahiri and Bhullar will enjoy a good warm up at Royal Melbourne as they will compete in the Talisker Masters this week at the same venue.
Lahiri said qualifying for the World Cup would also boost their hopes of qualifying for the Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro in 2016.
“That’s we what play for. When I played as an amateur, I played for India in many events. As a professional, you want to keep doing it and winning medals and honour for your country. It means a lot more when you are doing something more than winning titles for yourself,” said Lahiri, who finished tied second at the Hero Indian Open last weekend.
India’s best showing in the World Cup in recent years was a ninth place finish by Atwal and Randhawa in 2005. This year’s ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf will offer US$7 million for the individual category and US$1 million for teams who are eligible with two players represented at the event.
“The new format is a good preparation for the 2016 Olympics. It gives everybody a good idea on how to cope with the format. It is a very good format. The most of us will definitely welcome this format,” said Bhullar.
“It is a very exciting moment in my career. Hopefully my family and some of my relatives in Australia will follow me on the golf course. It is always a great and different feeling when you are representing your country.”
Other Asian players who have qualified for the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf through the Official World Golf Ranking are Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, China’s Wu Ashun and Liang Wen-chong, Korea’s K.J. Choi and Bae Sang-moon, Filipinos Angelo Que and Antonio Lascuna, Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa and Hideto Tanihara and Bangladeshi Siddikur.
Tickets to witness the ISPS HANDA World Cup are on sale now from www.ticketmaster.com.au.
About ISPS
ISPS is a ‘General Incorporated Association’ based in Tokyo.  ISPS was founded by Japanese philanthropist Dr Haruhisa Handa in 2006 to support charitable causes throughout the sporting world.  ISPS has fostered partnerships with golf governing bodies worldwide to help develop the game at every level and promote blind and disabled golf.  ISPS’s heritage in supporting blind and disabled golf and Dr Handa’s interest and philanthropic contribution in golf has formed the foundation of its wider mission for golf to become a Paralympic sport. Visit www.ispsgolf.com
About Melbourne
Known as one of the world’s most liveable cities, it is Melbourne’s sophisticated, yet edgy style combined with super-friendly people that gives the city its personality. With an impressive calendar of high profile international events, including The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and The Australian Open Tennis Championships, Melbourne is a leader in staging major events and providing a world-class welcome to international visitors.
With inner-city precincts ranging from the infamous city centre laneways to the beachy, bayside chic of the south and eclectic northside cool – Melbourne is a city of constant discovery where fashion, food, sport and entertainment, shopping, heritage, the arts and good living all come together to creative a lifestyle envied by many around the world. Food and wine lovers in particular will be in food heaven in gourmet Melbourne. Eating experiences range from award-winning celebrity chef restaurants to farmers markets selling locally sourced wines and fresh produce.
As one of the most compact regions in Australia, Victoria offers a huge variety of landscapes and experiences within a few hours of Melbourne. Whether its deserts, alpine ski resorts, mighty rivers, great lakes, wildlife, or the unparalleled spectacle and beauty of the world renowned Great Ocean Road, Victoria is all about quality experiences.
Many of the state’s regional attractions, including valleys of vineyards and international surf beaches, are less than a two-hour drive from Melbourne. But with more time to spare, the entire state offers a variety of scenic routes ideal for self-drive and personalised tours.
About the International Federation of PGA Tours
The International Federation of PGA Tours was formed in 1996 by golf’s five world governing bodies – The European Tour, Japan Golf Tour Organisation, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour (South Africa PGA Tour) with the purpose of providing a forum for the world’s professional golf organizations to discuss issues of mutual importance and, together, develop and promote the game of golf on a global basis.  As part of its mission, the Federation initiated the World Golf Championships in 1999.  The Asian Tour joined the International Federation of PGA Tours in November 1999, while the Canadian Tour and the Tour de las Americas joined the Federation as associate members in 2000 and 2007, respectively.
In step with global growth of professional golf, the International Federation of PGA Tours announced an expansion and restructuring of its membership in 2009, adding the International Golf Association and additional professional golf tours, including – for the first time – women’s golf tours: China Golf Association; Korea Professional Golfers’ Association; Professional Golf Tour of India; LPGA Tour; Ladies European Tour; Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour; Japan LPGA; Korean LPGA; and Ladies Asian Golf Tour.
About the International Golf Association
The International Golf Association (IGA) is a not-for-profit corporation, chartered in the State of New York in 1956.  IGA is governed by its seven-member Board of Directors.  Jonathan Linen is the IGA Board Chairman.  Through its association with the International Federation of PGA Tours, IGA continues its international goodwill through golf mission and looks forward to the 2013 return of the World Cup to The Royal Melbourne Golf Club, one of the world’s greatest golf venues.
About IMG
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