India’s Khalin Joshi is eagerly looking forward to contend at the prestigious Volvo China Open in a fortnight, after seeing his good friend Shubhankar Sharma propel into stardom over the last few months.

Joshi, placed 10th on the Asian Tour’s Habitat for Humanity Standings, has received a sponsor’s invite to play at the CNY 20 million (approximately US$3,178,000) event, tri-sanctioned by the China Golf Association, Asian Tour and the European Tour.

He will challenge for honours alongside Sharma, Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnat, Australian Scott Hend and reigning Order of Merit champion Gavin Green of Malaysia at the highly-rated Beijing Topwin Golf and Country Club from April 26 to 29.

“I am very happy for Shubhankar. Watching him play in the Masters on television was surreal. We are very good friends and he motivates me the most. He reminds me that one good week can take you to the next level it’s just a matter of time before things will fall into place for me,” said Joshi.

The 25-year-old Joshi, who hails from Bengarulu, kept his Asian Tour card for the first time in his career after finishing inside the top-60 on the 2017 Order of Merit. He eased the pressure of retaining his card for 2019 following a solid tied-fifth finish in Malaysia in February.

“I was really proud of how I kept my emotions together that week when I finished tied-fifth in Malaysia. I showed everyone that I can compete at that level and I proved it to myself as well.

“Things have changed so much for me this season. I was struggling to keep my card all through last year but now that the pressure is off, I play to win and not just to secure my card,” added Joshi.

Since turning professional in 2013, Joshi has won four times on his local circuit. He will be returning to China for the first time in eight years for the Volvo China Open.

“The last time I was in China was in 2010 when I played as a junior in the Faldo Series Asia and came in second in my division. I am excited to be back in China and competing against such a strong field. I know my game is there so I am hoping to put a good showing that week,” Joshi said.

Defending champion Alexander Levy of France, China’s highest-ranked player Haotong Li, Yuta Ikeda of Japan, as well as young Thai stars Phachara Khongwatmai and Poom Saksansin, will all be part of the elite field  expected to gather at the Volvo China Open, which is celebrating its 24th edition this season.

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