Bhullar bullish ahead of Macau defence

Wed 16 Oct 2013

Bhullar bullish ahead of Macau defence

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Macau, October 16: Indian star Gaganjeet Bhullar is relishing his title defence at the Venetian Macau Open starting on Thursday, labeling the US$800,000 event as one of the biggest on the Asian Tour.
The 25-year-old, currently third on the Order of Merit, will face a stellar field at the spectacular Macau Golf and Country Club which includes four-time Major champion Ernie Els and six former Merit champions including countrymen Arjun Atwal, Jyoti Randhawa and Jeev Milkha Singh.
Last year, the powerful Indian completed a commanding wire-to-wire triumph and called the victory as one of the best of his career which includes three other Asian Tour victories.
“Macau is one of my favourite courses in Asia. When I played in the practice round yesterday, it kind of triggered the memories from last year. I remembered what I did on the 72nd hole (which he birdied). It was one of the weeks where I’m not going to forget in my life,” said Bhullar.
“This tournament is one of the biggest events on the Asian Tour. I’m feeling good and I’m striking the ball good. Just had a bit of ups and downs recently which is part of the game. I’m enjoying myself and I’m in a good frame of mind. Anything is possible.”
Bhullar is hoping to play his way into a pairing with crowd-puller Els over the weekend.  “That’s the goal. He inspires the next generation of Asian players to move onto the next level and make it big. With him around, he’s the one to look out for,” said the Indian.
Officials and players at the Venetian Macau Open Press Conference. Officials and players at the Venetian Macau Open Press Conference.
“This is my sixth visit to Macau and over the past four to five years, the course has been improving every year. Last year, the greens were running at about 10 on the stimpmeter and this week, it’s running around 12 which is one of the fastest on the tour.
“This golf course and the event have matured a lot, not just from a commercial point of view but the potential point of view as well. There is a lot of sponsorship involved which is great. This tournament is one of the biggest on the Asian Tour,” he said.
“This field is one of the strongest fields ever in the Venetian Macau Open history. I’m feeling good and I’m striking the ball good. Just had a bit of ups and downs recently which is part of the game. I’m enjoying myself and I’m in a good frame of mind. Anything is possible. Definitely I want to go out there and have a good week.”
Bhullar recalled last year’s triumph with fondness. “Last year, it was a real battle of emotions, especially over the last few holes. After winning here, my outlook and ambitions changed. It gave me the push that I needed in my career. After that win, I’m feeling secure in my life.  A lot of good things are happening and I’ll try to win this tournament again this year,” he said.
Thai ace Thongchai Jaidee, the only man to win three Order of Merit titles in Asia, has recorded eight top-10s this season and would dearly love to win a 14th Asian Tour title at the Venetian Macau Open.
“I’ve been playing okay but in the last two weeks, my putting has been killing me. But with the greens being so fast here, I hope to get back to form. I love fast greens and I feel confident,” said Thongchai, who finished tied eighth here last season.
“Hopefully this week, I will give myself a chance to win. The course is good but a lot depends on the weather. If it is windy, it will be tough. I love the course, you have to think a lot and have the right game plan.
“It’s good to have Ernie in the field. It makes things a bit different for the players.”
China's Zhang Lian-wei. China's Zhang Lian-wei.
Chinese veteran Zhang Lian-wei, long regarded as the man who put China golf on the world map with his success on the Asian Tour, will be out to preserve a proud record where he has never missed a halfway cut here in 13 appearances.
“Every time I come back to Macau, it feels like I’m coming home. I’ve had a lot of success here in the past (with two wins in 2001 and 2002) and I’ve never missed the cut in all my appearances here. I’ve been working with a coach the past few months and hopefully it will help in my game,” said the veteran.
Jointly organised by Macau Sport Development Board of Macau SAR Government (MSDB) and Golf Association of Macau, the tournament is sanctioned by the latter and the Asian Tour, and promoted by IMG. Following a successful foray into the world of golf last year, The Venetian® Macao-Resort has returned as title sponsor of the event for a second successive year.
The Venetian Macau Open will once again be a free entry event for golf fans from around the world to enjoy live world class professional golf in one of the best loved destinations for leisure and business travel in Asia.
Since its inauguration in 1998, the tournament has been graced by the presence of some of the best golfers the world has ever seen, including Lee Westwood, Colin Montgomerie, Nick Faldo, Padraig Harrington, Fred Couples, Ian Woosnam and Mark O’Meara. This year’s event boasts a total prize fund of US$800,000, an increase of 6.7% compared to last year.
Sponsors joining The Venetian® Macao  in support of the tournament include Rolex, Srixon, Air Macau, Blue Girl and Bonaqua, as well as first time sponsors Lamborghini, Maui Jim, Subway, Hytera, Twinwoods Wine  and Hong Kong Descente, which carries both the Le Coq Sportif Golf Collection and Munsingwear.
For more details on the Venetian Macau Open, please visit www.thevenetianmacauopen.com
About Macau Sport Development Board of the Macau Special Administrative Region Government
Macau Sport Development Board, under the capacity of the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macau SAR Government, is a public organization of administration autonomy. The organization is responsible for the implementation of sport strategy and policy formulated by the Macau SAR Government. Its objective is to stimulate, encourage, and promote all kind of sports in Macau, also to create an essential condition for sport development.
For the development of competitive sports and ‘Sport for all’, the Macau Sport Development Board organizes various high level international sport competitions as well as recreational classes and thematic ‘Sport for all’ activities each year, in an endeavor to promote the international status of Macau, reinforce communication and co-operation with other countries and cites, enhance citizens’ quality of life and arouse their interest in sport, so as to accelerate and facilitate the enhancement of the level of sport in Macau.
For more information, please visit www.sport.gov.mo
About Golf Association of Macau
The Golf Association of Macau is the governing body of golf in Macau and promotes the sport across all levels with the city. It is the co-organiser and official sanctioning body of the Venetian Macau Open.
About The Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel
Opened in 2007, The Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel is Macao's first integrated resort featuring stunning replicas of the famous canals and architectural icons of Venice, Italy. The Venetian Macao features 3,000 suites, 1.2 million square feet (111,000 square metres) of convention and meeting facilities as well as a 15,000-seat Cotai Arena designed for world-class sports events and electrifying entertainment. The Venetian Macao is also home to the unique, 1,800-seat luxury Venetian Theatre, hosting the best in international and Chinese entertainment; more than 30 renowned restaurants; MALO CLINIC Health & Wellness; the incredibly fun QUBE indoor playground and more than 300 retailers at Shoppes at Venetian. Outdoor recreation areas include swimming pools and cabanas and a mini-golf course.
For more information, please visit www.venetianmacao.com.
About Cotai Strip Resorts Macao – Macao’s Integrated Resort City
Sands China Ltd. is the leading developer, owner and operator of integrated resorts in Macao. The befittingly named Cotai Strip Resorts Macao, situated on reclaimed land between the islands of Coloane and Taipa, is the one destination that provides a stunning array of experiences at the heart of Cotai. Cotai Strip Resorts Macao has transformed a gaming-centric day-trip market into an integrated resort city and international hub for business and leisure travellers.
Pulsating with life, both night and day, Cotai Strip Resorts Macao features an expansive offering of affordable luxury available nowhere else in Macao, with approximately 9,000 hotel rooms and suites, international superstar live entertainment, duty-free shopping with 600 retailers offering an unparalleled array of name brands, 1.3 million square feet (120,000 square metres) of meeting and exhibition space for Asia’s leading conferences and exhibitions, gaming excitement, transportation offerings and well over 100 dining options, including international restaurants, bars and lounges. Cotai Strip Resorts Macao is a must-see destination providing every guest with an unforgettable experience and unparalleled excitement.
Comprised of the The Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel; The Plaza™ Macao, featuring the Four Seasons Hotel Macao; and Sands® Cotai Central, featuring the world’s largest Conrad, Sheraton, and Holiday Inn hotels, Cotai Strip Resorts Macao is where Asia’s ultimate destination is all within reach.
Cotai Strip Resorts Macao….truly Macao Starts Here™. For more information, please visit http://en.cotaistrip.com/.
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts), Subway Restaurants (Official Quick Service Restaurant) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf
About IMG
IMG Worldwide is a global sports, fashion and media business, with nearly 3,000 employees operating in more than 30 countries around the globe. IMG’s areas of expertise are diverse and wide ranging:  IMG College; IMG’s Joint Ventures in India, China, Brazil and Turkey; IMG Media; IMG Events and Federations; IMG Fashion; IMG Models; IMG Art+Commerce; IMG Clients; IMG Academy; IMG Consulting and IMG Licensing.  More information is available at www.imgworld.com.  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.