Gurgaon: With stars like Jeev Milkha Singh missing and rest struggling with form, youngster Gaganjeet Bhullar is the top contender in the USD 1.25 million Indian Open golf tournament which tees off at DLF Golf and Country Club here on Thursday.
Stalwarts like Jeev, Jyoti Randhawa and Shiv Kapur decided to give the tournament a miss and with other Indians like Arjun Atwal and SSP Chowrasia out of form, Bhullar is ready to shoulder the burden of expectations.
"There is absolutely no pressure on me. I have always loved playing here and it rather acts as a motivating factor for me. I have some very good memories of DLF course here and I would like to make myself counted here again," Bhullar said.
"I am confident as if I can win Indonesian then there is no reason why I can't do it here," added the Kapurthala-lad who will tee-off with Indian-born Swede Daniel Chopra and Thai Thaworn Wiratchant.
Defending champion Liang Wen-Chong of China has also decided to miss the tournament this year.
Atwal, who is still recuperating from his shoulder injury, said he doesn't have any expectations and is happy to be back on the greens after being sidelined for more than four months early this year.
"I don't have any expectations. I haven't played well this year and so I'm not thinking much about wining or losing. Of course would be playing seriously but I think I would like to take it as it comes," Atwal said.
"Last year if I would have been here I would have had expectations because I was playing well but this year, I am just happy to be back," Atwal said.
"It was more frustrating to sit at home and I am very happy that am playing golf again. Now for the last two weeks the pain is less and it is easy to swing now. So I hope I can play well," he added.
Chopra is also confident of winning the national open, a title missing from his cabinet.
"National Open is one of the tournaments I have never won. I lost in the finals of the All India Amateur. I have only won the All India Junior three times. So I would love to win the Indian Open this time," Chopra said.
"The game is in good shape now. When I played last year I was making some swing changes and it just wasn't really happening. I am much better placed this time round," said Chopra, who boasts of 13 professional wins.
Playing for the first time in India, 2005 US Open winner Michael Campbell of New Zealand is also hoping to return to form with a win here.
"It has been a lean year for me. I have come out of injury and I have go some momemtum and I would like to carry it through this tournament. The course is looking in good shape and I hope to make my first Indian sojourn memorable," he said.