Indian golfer Rashid ready to overcome mind games

Ibaraki Prefecture (Japan), Sep 22 (IANS) Indian golfer Rashid Khan is ready to overcome the ‘mind games’ when he challenges for the Asia-Pacific Open Mitsubishi Diamond Cup, which starts here on Thursday.

The 24-year-old struggled earlier this year but plans to bounce back when he makes his second appearance at the $1.2 million event sanctioned by the Asian and Japan Golf Tour.

Rashid, a two-time Asian Tour winner, worked with his mental coach Aparna Jain during the off-season to strengthen his game and prepare for the business-end of the season.

“It has been more of a mental thing for me this year. When your mind is free, you are more confident with your shots. I think too much sometimes. I need to focus on my current shot and not the next one,” Rashid explained.

Rashid missed the cut in his debut appearance at the Otone Country Club, West Course, last year but is confident of doing better in this year’s showpiece which has attracted top names including Ryo Ishikawa, defending champion Hiroyuki Fujita and Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand.

“I struggled with my game last year but now I know the course better. I’m expecting a lot from myself this time. I’ve been practicing very hard to prepare for the busy second half of the season,” he said.

“I’m not low on confidence at the moment. I was trying too hard earlier this year. I don’t want to do that again. I want to win again but to do that, I need a good start. When I get off to a good start, I always have that self-belief that pushes me forward,” said Rashid.

Angelo Que of the Philippines, Prom Meesawat of Thailand, Jason Knutzon of the United States, who finished tied second last year, will lead the Asian Tour charge.

Nicholas Fung of Malaysia, Thanyakon Khrongpha of Thailand, Korean Seukhyun Baek, Filipino Miguel Tabuena and Paul Peterson of US are among the talented stars who are aiming for a first career victory this week.

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