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India's Jeev Milkha Singh believes the current crop of golfers from India will be ready to take on the world as he prepares his title assault on the US$6 million Barclays Singapore Open which tees off on Thursday.
Long regarded as a role model to the younger generation of Indian golfers, Singh is confident that golf in India is on its way to greater heights following the success of compatriots like Gaganjeet Bhullar, Anirban Lahiri, Himmat Rai and S.S.P. Chowrasia on the Asian Tour.
"Whenever I'm talking to these guys, I tell them that if I can turn the clock back and put myself in their shoes and if I were to look at Jeev Milkha Singh, I would say "hey man, if Jeev won 21 out of X number of tournaments all over the world and he's been in the top-50 in the world, I will do better than him," said Singh, who was Asia's number one in 2006 and 2008.
"There is a lot of talent in the country. The boys are playing really well. Gaganjeet has proven himself by winning twice this year. Himmat Rai, Anirban Lahiri, S.S.P. all these guys are playing so well and it's just fantastic to see and push me too," added Singh.
A return to the Sentosa Golf Club where he won the Barclays Singapore Open in 2008 evokes fond memories for the six-time Asian Tour winner and he is delighted to grace the fairways again.
"I'm very happy that I'm back at the golf course where I won. It's a very challenging golf course and requires lot of patience and I think scoring is not going to be that low. I feel that the winning score will be between six to 10 under," said Singh, who will be playing his opening two rounds with Japan's Tetsuji Hiratsuka and Scotland's Richie Ramsay.
The Asian Tour honorary member showed that he can stand tall among the European giants when he secured his third win on European soil in July and believes India will rise to become a dominant force in the world of golf.
"I think we're close. I think it all depends on week to week and if you're having a good week and you're mentally strong that week. It could be anytime. I think we are strong enough to win tournaments anywhere in the world.
We're playing well and my goal obviously is that before my golfing career is over, I would like to win a Major championship. I feel like I've got another nine years in me. I'm 41 and hopefully I'll do that," said Singh.
India will be represented by a total of 11 players at the Barclays Singapore Open, which is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
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