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Handling pressure key to Jyoti's title defence

New Delhi, Oct 10 (UNI) Ace Indian golfer Jyoti Randhawa says he is geared up to soak the pressures of playing at home and defend his title at the Hero Honda Indian Open, which tees off tomorrow at the Delhi Golf Club here.

''Everytime I play in India, I am under pressure to perform.

There is lots of expectations from people here. I am trying to focus on my game and do my best to match the expectations,'' said the Delhi pro, who won the tournament in 2006 and 2000.

Jyoti, who has been playing mostly in Europe this season, said he has certain areas to improve upon to come out on top in a strong field which has stalwarts like Jeev Milkha Singh, Gaurav Ghei, Shiv Kapur, Thaworn Wiratchant and Mardan Mamat.

''I think I am doing rasonably well in Europe. I am putting well, but I feel I am not scoring as much as I want to. I have not been driving the ball that great but not that bad also.'' When asked who would be the toughest competitor in the tournament, Jyoti would not name anyone. ''You can't predict who will win. There are many who can win, anybody who is in good nick can win,'' was the reply from the golfer who turned pro in 1994.

Jyoti reciprocated compatriot Jeev's generosity of naming him as frontrunner for the title by saying that he would put money on the Chandigarh pro to walk away with the trophy.

''Jeev is playing well, I am looking forward to competing with him. It will be an exciting competition, some top Asians are playing and the prize money is attractive. So, I think we will have a great contest,'' said Jyoti who has played in 24 European Tour events so far this season.

Jyoti, who is the highest ranked Indian golfer after Jeev, is upbeat on the rising curve of Indian golf with top competitions coming in the country though he is mainly concentrating on playing in Europe. He has five top finishes there and his current European Tour ranking is 33.

''For the near future I want to play as many tournaments in Europe though my long term aim to play in United States.

Indian golf is doing great. One Asian tour and an European tour are coming next year. It's happening at the right time.

India is emerging as a sporting nation and the prospect of golf is great,'' he said.

Jyoti though is not certain of playing in European Tour's Indian Masters next year and said it dependes on the number of berths decided by PGTI.

''It depends on the availability of berths decided by PGTI. I want to play but it depends on PGTI decision.'' UNI

Story first published: Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 17:44 [IST]
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