Digvijay eyes magical run at Panasonic Open India

Digvijay-Singh-11New Delhi: Defending champion Digvijay Singh believes age is not a barrier as he eyes another magical run at his title defence of the Panasonic Open India from April 4-7.

The dashing Indian ended a 12-year barren run when he claimed his maiden Asian Tour victory by producing a grandstand finish with a 12-foot birdie putt on the last hole to pip Bangladesh’s Siddikur and compatriot, Gaganjeet Bhullar to the title by two shots.

Memories of his career breakthrough are still etched firmly in Singh’s mind and he is hoping he can revive them as he chases his second Asian Tour win at the Delhi Golf Club.

“I’m looking forward to playing the tournament again. Delhi Golf Club is one of my favourite venues and it’s a pleasure to play here. By the looks of it, the course will be in great shape come April,” said Singh.

“It’ll be my first time defending a big tournament, so I’m taking positives from last year and we shall see what happens. I just hope to go out there and enjoy myself,” added the Indian.

While Singh has not reached the dizzy heights following his win due to injuries and illnesses, he is determined to work hard and strive for better results this year.

“I didn’t play well after my win. I was pretty injury ridden the second half of the year and I had to pull out of a few events due to illnesses. I’m hoping to be fitter this year. I’ve been working out with my coach so we’ll see how it goes,” said Singh.

Apart from his fitness regime, Singh is hoping that the hours spent working on his short game will also pay off when he returns to the Panasonic Open India, which is one of four Asian Tour tournaments in India.

“I need to work on my putting. I’ve not been putting well enough to convert my chances. I’m hitting enough greens in regulation and hitting the ball close enough but not making the putts,” he added.

An adrenaline junkie, Singh insists age is not a factor when chasing for glory on the golf course.

“In this game, age is not a factor. Peter Senior won (the Australian Open) at 53, Tom Watson almost won (the British Open) at 59. Age is not a barrier, it’s how you conduct yourself over four rounds of golf,” said the 41-year-old.

Singh will be among a strong Asian Tour line-up expected to challenge for top honours at the US$300,000 full field event.

There will be a good incentive for players as well at the event as the top-three players at the Panasonic Open India will be extended invitations to the Asia Pacific Panasonic Open which will be held in Osaka, Japan this September. The Asia Pacific Panasonic Open is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.

Other Asian Tour stars expected to feature promently at the Panasonic Open India include Sri Lanka’s Mithun Perera, Thailand’s Chinnarat Phadungsil and Chinese Taipei’s Chan Yih-shin.