Asian Tour season starts at SMBC Singapore Open

Major champions and an all-star cast from the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO) will ensure a truly memorable start to the 2017 season when the SMBC Singapore Open tees off in a fortnight.

The US$1 million event, jointly-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and JGTO, has attracted a stellar field that includes four-time Major winner Ernie Els of South Africa as well as Australian Adam Scott and debutant Sergio Garcia of Spain, ranked seventh and 13th in the world respectively.

Asian Tour International Ambassador and honorary member Els and Scott, who has won the Singapore Open title for a record three times, are making their appearances for the first time since the tournament returned to the schedule in 2016 following a three-year absence.

Five Asian Tour Order of Merit champions and over 35 tournament winners on the region’s premier Tour will also be part of the elite field vying for top honours at the highly-rated Sentosa Golf Club’s Serapong course in Singapore from January 19 to 22.

Thai legend Thaworn Wiratchant, who holds an unprecedented 18 wins on the Asian Tour, will contend for the title alongside multiple winners Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei as well as India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar, S.S.P. Chawrasia and Rashid Khan.

Young talents Carlos Pigem of Spain, Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert, Poom Saksansin and Thitiphun Chuayprakong, who all claimed their breakthroughs on the Asian Tour last season, will aim to kick off their season on a high note when they head to the Lion city.

Pavit, who finished a career-high 10th place on the Order of Merit last season, is relishing his opportunity to participate in the Singapore Open for the second time since turning professional 10 years ago.

“The 2007 Singapore Open was the first professional tournament that I have played outside of Thailand and I made the halfway cut! It has really been a long time since then and I am looking forward to playing in this iconic event again,” said the 27-year-old Thai.

“2016 has been a superb season for me, having claimed my maiden win on the Asian Tour in Macau and finishing inside top-10 on the Order of Merit for the first time in my career. I hope to carry on that good form into the brand new season,” Pavit added.

Korea’s Younghan Song, who defeated former world number one Jordan Spieth last year, will be back to defend his title in the Singapore showpiece which also features compatriot K.T. Kim, a three-time winner in Japan last season.

Singapore will be well-represented at the SMBC Singapore Open with five-time Asian Tour winner Mardan Mamat spearheading the local charge alongside Quincy Quek, Koh Deng Shan, Marc Kawasoe, Johnson Poh, Mitchell Slorach and Lam Chih Bing.

Other notable players in the field include Malaysia’s Danny Chia, Lu Wei-chih of Chinese Taipei, Thai veteran Prayad Marksaeng, Filipino star Angelo Que and Miguel Tabuena, China’s Liang Wen-chong, Japan’s Yuta Ikeda and Hideto Tanihara.

The SMBC Singapore Open, which marks the 51st staging of Singapore’s National Open this season, will be part of The Open Qualifying Series for 2017. The leading two non-exempt players, who finish in the top-10 and ties at the season-opener will secure their spots in the field at The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale from July 16 to 23.

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