'Nothing can be sweeter than winning Indian Open'

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New Delhi, Oct 3:  Despite winning three titles on Asian Tour, Gaurav Ghei says that ''nothing can be sweeter than winning the National Open.'' Ghei has more than a few times come within a whisker of winning the Indian Open. He even has half a dozen top-10 finishes, including two in last two years, to show for it. But he has never won it. Next week, when he tees off at the Hero Honda Indian Open here he hopes to set that record right.

''There is a different ring to a National Open. Almost all players want to win it as often as possible, so it is no different with Indian Open,'' he said.

''When a golfer tees it is only winning that occupies his mind.

More than money, a golfer would like to have more wins and in important events. Indian Open is one important like that,'' he added.

The Hero Honda Indian open carries half a million dollars as the prize purse to boot.

''Right now my focus is the Hero Honda Indian Open. I love playing in the Indian Open, I enjoy playing in the Delhi Golf Club course and I am in good form. So I am keen to do well and nothing can be sweeter than winning the National Open.'' On his favourites for Indian Open? ''Jeev and Jyoti will certainly start in that category. It is Jeev's first appearance after a long time and he had a great 2006, so fans will be keen to see him. Jyoti is without doubt the most consistent Indian golfer in recent years and then there's foreign players like Thaworn and China's Liang,'' he said.

Ghei, has had a fine year with a win in Pine Valley Beijing Open and is currently lying sixth in the UBS Asian Tour Order of Merit.

''Winning the Beijing Open was really big. I didn't realise it till it happened.I felt very proud,'' he said. Last year he won the Mercuries Taiwan Masters.

''Two wins in less than a year came after a gap of 11 years. I always believed that I could win, but lot of factors came in between. I was not playing well, some injuries and generally not being able to go out as often meant no titles. But when Taiwan and Beijing Open happened, it was a great feeling,'' admitted Ghei.

Ghei's fist win in Asia was the Gadgil Western Masters back in 1995, when he executed what is still called ''a the best shot in Indian golf''. He chipped in from more than 60 yards for an eagle on the 72nd hole for a win. ''That is something that I will always cherish. My first win with a dream shot,'' he recalled.

For him Delhi Golf Club (DGC) is his 'second home'. ''Actually I spend more time here when I am in Delhi than anywhere else.'' ''The DGC is always a challenge. I have played a bit after the changes this year. Three tees have been pushed back, lengthening the course. But what is more striking is the rough, which is higher than ever before. It is going to be a big challenge,'' he said.

''The score could be much higher than last year, when Jyoti, Chowrasia and Vijay tied at 18-under. I think it could 12 or 13-under. But then who knows, with players like Jeev and Jyoti, they can shoot some real low numbers,'' he added.

UNI

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