Open mission for Singapore champion

SMBC Singapore Open champion Sergio Garcia hopes to go one better than in 2007 when he returns to Carnoustie in Scotland for The Open this week.

The Spaniard lost a four-hole playoff to Padraig Harrington 11 years ago after tying with the Irishman on seven under 277 after 72 holes.

Garcia, the world number 19, has a great record at The Open while never quite managing to lift the Claret Jug. He has 10 top-10 finishes, including two runner-up finishes, in the world’s oldest Major.

His only Major win came at last year’s Masters, just months after starting his season with a joint 11th place finish in the SMBC Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club.

In January, Garcia translated his liking for the Singapore Open and the Serapong Course into a fantastic five-stroke victory.

He tees off at The Open on Thursday at 3.10 pm local time (10.10 pm Singapore) in the company of American Bryson DeChambeau and rising star Shubhankar Sharma of India.

Four players who finished behind Garcia at this year’s SMBC Singapore Open won spots at The Open thanks to its billing as a Qualifying Series event.

The Thai duo of Jazz Janewattananond and Danthai Boonma, who tied for fourth, sixth-placed Sean Crocker of the USA and Australian Lucas Herbert all secured places.

Herbert, who finished tied for eighth with Miguel Tabuena, Berry Henson and Gavin Green, captured his spot by virtue of his higher world ranking. Green, as 2017 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, had already been allocated a start for Carnoustie.

Jazz, who enjoyed a confidence-boosting win at the Queen’s Cup on the Asian Tour earlier this month, will tee off at 3.54 pm while Danthai – joint runner up in the Sarawak Championship two weeks ago – has an early start time of 7.08 am.

Danthai will be partnered by South Africa’s Shaun Norris, joint runner up in this year’s SMBC Singapore Open, and 1989 winner of The Open, Mark Calcavecchia of the United States.

Norris was already exempt for The Open ahead of the SMBC Singapore Open as was Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira who tied with him for second place. Kodaira has an 8.03 am tee time alongside former champion Phil Mickelson of the United States and Spain’s Rafa Cabrero Bello.

Crocker and Green are in the group hitting off at 11.15 am while Herbert, who could not practice properly last week as his clubs were lost in transit, has a 2.37 pm starting time.

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