Defending champion Jazz Janewattananond shook off the rust before this week’s SMBC Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club with a fine fourth place finish at the Hong Kong Open.
Coming off a fantastic 2019 season when he won four times and jumped to 40th in the Official World Golf Ranking, the 24-year-old Thai finished behind winner Wade Ormsby of Australia, runner-up Shane Lowry of Ireland (last year’s winner of The Open) and countryman Gunn Charoenkul, who was third.
Jazz was aiming to become the first player to win three Asian Tour events on the bounce after his successes in the Indonesian Masters and Thailand Masters at the end of last year but came up just short.
“Although I did not win, it’s still a pretty good result as I left so many shots out there,” said Jazz, who had a two-shot victory over Paul Casey of England and Japan’s Yoshinori Fujimoto in last year’s SMBC Singapore Open.
“I knew that I was probably not going to win because Wade Ormsby played really good and that’s a fantastic score (17 under par).
“There are a couple of things I need changing, so I’ll try to do it before (the SMBC Singapore Open). Hopefully I can repeat what I did last year.
“I really like to shake off my rust and I have got a couple things to work with and we’ll see, I think it’ll definitely help for sure that I came here (Hong Kong) to play.
“So, looking forward to (the SMBC Singapore Open) where it’s a course I really like. I guess if you play good golf then good things will come, but if you don’t no one is going to talk about you. So just got to keep practicing and playing good golf.”
Gunn, a client of SMBC Singapore Open promoters Lagardere Sports, feels a win could be just around the corner after a run of top-five finishes, including a runner-up spot to Jazz at the Indonesian Masters.
“Honestly, I felt the pressure. I started off good when I birdied the second hole and then a little mishap killed the momentum on the third. And then just kept burning the edge all day,” he said.
“Overall, I’m very happy with my game and really looking forward to the SMBC Singapore Open.
“I’m really enjoying my time out there even though I’m not scoring anything. Winning will come where and when it’s time. So I just keep prepping myself out there and then when the time comes, I think I’ll take the win.”
Jazz and Gunn will be up against an elite field in the joint-sanctioned Asian Tour and Japan Tour event over the Serapong Course from January 16-19.
Major winners Justin Rose of England and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson will be making their 2020 debuts while American Matt Kuchar played both PGA Tour events on Hawaii this month.
Japan superstar Ryo Ishikawa, back to the peak of his powers after a debilitating back injury with three victories in 2019, will be teeing it up for the first time in 2020.