Jeev Milkha Singh is seeking to add to the joy of his son’s birth by winning the Avantha Masters, which tees off at the DLF Country and Golf Club on the outskirts of New Delhi.
Singh, who at World Number 59 is the highest-ranked player in the field, is on a personal high following the birth of his first child less than a fortnight ago.
One of Asia’s most decorated players, Singh admits his focus has been divided, but believes his tied-15th finish at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic earlier this week will inspire confidence.
“I’m going to try to win this week but I’m actually more excited about the baby,” Singh said.
“I’ve spent more time in the hospital than on the golf course, but I’ve been working with my coach this week and I’m feeling good about my form. It’s always nice to win at home and I’ll go out there and do my best.
The inaugural Avantha Masters, co-sanctioned by The European Tour, the Asian Tour and the Professional Golf Tour of India, features former Ryder Cup stars Darren Clarke and David Howell - both of whom will be looking to boost their chances of a place in Colin Montgomerie’s side for The Celtic Manor Resort this year with victory.
But they will be up against a strong local contingent as well as China’s Liang Wen-chong, winner of the Indian Open here two years ago.
Liang, who finished runner-up on the Asian Tour Order of Merit last season, is confident of being a title contender this week.
“It’s always nice to return to the place that brought you fond memories,” he said.
“I hope I'll leave here at the end of the week with sweet memories again. I’d like to get my season off to a good start. I had a top-25 finish at the Sony Open in the US back in January and I’m feeling good about my form,” he said.
The 7,250 yard, par 72 course is situated below the gently rolling Aravalli Hills, but India’s Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia, a massive success story on the Asian Tour in recent times, believes the course could prove tricky for the players from overseas.
“The Europeans may struggle with the tricky greens and with our regular experience on the course, it offers the perfect opportunity,” he said.
“Recent rain has made the course soft, so it will give everyone a chance to attack the flags.
“The only problem I see is that the greens are very grainy, but the home crowd is used to it and we must make the most of the home advantage.”