Shubhankar Sharma is determined to become only the second Asian player to claim the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in what is his debut appearance. The $10 million event starts at the Sheshan International Golf Club on Thursday.

“I’m playing this event for the first time...It’s obviously going to be a very exciting week as only the best players in the world will be here and I’m part of them,” Sharma said in a release issued by the Asian Tour.

“I’ve been lucky to be able to play in all the big tournaments this year so I would say I’m more comfortable playing against these guys than I was at the start of the year. I know I have the game to be among the best in the world,” he added.

The Indian believes he is close to rediscovering the form that led him to two wins on the Asian Tour and is capable of following the footsteps of Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, who lifted the coveted Old Tom Morris Cup in 2016.

Sharma won his first Asian Tour title at the Joburg Open in South Africa last December and went on to claim his second victory two months later in Malaysia.

“I had a few chances this year and I would like to draw on those experiences and play well. I had problems both in Mexico and Malaysia and they all came on the last day.

“I have a decent year so far and I just want to keep playing well and give my best shot,” he added.

Sharma’s best finish at a WGC event was in Mexico early in the year where he led for two rounds before settling for an eventual tied-ninth place.

Compatriot Gaganjeet Bhullar, who has also enjoyed a standout season so far, is ready to stamp his mark at the Shanghai showpiece.

Bhullar is the only Indian to have won nine times on the Asian Tour and is feeling confident ahead of the exciting contest which will also feature five of the world’s top six golfers in the elite 78-man field.

“I have a lot of consistent finishes and the goal is to get better at what I’m doing every day. I’m very privileged and humbled to be part of the elite field this week,” he said.

With inputs from PTI