England’s Oliver Wilson is looking forward to test himself against the best players from the Asian Tour at the Panasonic Open India on Thursday.
The 32-year-old Englishman, who is playing on a sponsor’s invite this week, has not won a title in his professional career but has finished second nine times on the European Tour and represented Europe at the 2008 Ryder Cup.
Wilson also came close to winning in Asia when he finished second behind Spain’s Sergio Garcia at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai in 2009. He is hopeful that his fortunes will change when he steps up to the tee this week.
“Indian golf as with the Asian Tour is improving each year and the players are getting better and better each year. It’s going to be a tough week and hopefully I’ll be up for it,” said Wilson.
“This is a course which makes you think as you plot your way around. There’s no room for bad shots off the tee and you’ve got to keep the ball in play,” added Wilson.
Wilson knows he will be up against a strong field that is headlined by crowd favourite Jeev Milkha Singh of India and a host of other local hopefuls including Anirban Lahiri, Gaganjeet Bhullar and defending champion Digvijay Singh.
“Jeev along with the other guys are all good players. They’ve won all over the world and it’s not going to be easy. I just want to get into contention and hopefully be up there on the leaderboard on Sunday,” said Wilson.
Having won four times in Europe and six times on the region’s premier Tour, Singh is arguably India’s most decorated golfer.
However, it is a win at the Delhi Golf Club that has long eluded him and the 41-year-old hopes to end his barren spell at the venerable course this week.
“I haven’t won on this golf course as a professional yet. I hope to do well this week and get that monkey off my back,” said Singh.
While a win at the Panasonic Open India is a target, Singh also wants to follow the footsteps of fellow honorary member Y.E. Yang in winning a Major.
“Every player who plays golf wants to win a Major championship before his career is over. My goal is to get back into the top-50 this year and if I can do that I’ll have a good chance of winning the Major,” said Singh.
Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s Mithun Perera is eyeing another shot at glory following his near-miss where he finished second at the Asian Tour season-opening event in Myanmar.
Mithun is riding on a rich vein of form and is confident that he can become the first Sri Lankan to win on the Asian Tour, which is celebrating its 10th season this year.
“I had a good start this year and Delhi Golf Course is one of those courses which suit my game. My confidence is high and I’m really looking forward to a good week,” said Mithun.
The top-three players at the Panasonic Open India will be extended invitations to the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open, sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation, in Osaka, Japan in September.