Just another golfer in his rookie season till some time ago, caddie-turned-pro C Muniyappa is finding it hard to believe that he will rub shoulders with greats like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in the WGC-HSBC Champions starting here on Thursday.

The 32-year-old Indian Open champion will join illustrious compatriots Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa and young sensation Gaganjeet Bhullar at the historic first staging of a World Golf Championship event in Asia.

Muniyappa earned his spot in the $7 million showpiece through his sixth place position on the Order of Merit at the cut-off point for qualifying, thanks to the career breakthrough victory in the Indian Open last month.

“My dream has always been to play with Tiger. I can’t imagine that I’m going to be in the same event with him,” Muniyappa said today.

“Last year, I was watching the big events on TV and I saw Jeev winning in Singapore. I asked myself when will I have the chance to play in such big events and I worked really hard.

Now, I’m here,” he added.

He is among 11 Asian Tour members who will tee off at the Sheshan International Golf Club on Thursday.

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