SMBC Singapore Open champion Song Younghan of Korea has confirmed he will defend his title early next year at Sentosa Golf Club.
The US$1 million tournament, jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO), will be played from January 19 to 22 on Sentosa’s famed Serapong Course.
Song defeated American superstar Jordan Spieth by one shot in January this year to claim Singapore’s national Open and his first win as a professional.
He says he is looking forward to his defense: “I tend to enjoy new situations. When I turned professional and participated in my first tournament, I tried to just enjoy the moment. Having won the SMBC Singapore Open it will allow me to start the new season as a defending champion and I think it will put me in a great frame of mind.”
It has been a brilliant year for the 25 year old who now lies in fourth place on the JGTO Money List and 10th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
He finished second in the prestigious Mitsui Sumitomo Taiheiyo Masters a week ago, lost in a play-of at the Honma Tour World Cup and was third in the Japan PGA Championship.
“I think I am having a good season actually, but my money ranking has slipped down a little from 4th place in July,” he added.
“I try to control my mind by focusing on every tournament and every round and then the good results come. The season is near the end but I don’t think about that, I don’t get ahead of myself.”
Song came closest to winning his second tournament in Japan in October before being pipped by veteran compatriot Yuta Ikeda in a marathon playoff on Monday.
Ikeda drew level with Song at the Honma Tour World Cup with a birdie on the 17th hole on Sunday and the duo were still locked together when darkness fell after four playoff holes. The pair returned on Monday and Ikeda eventually prevailed after five more holes of sudden death.
It was a touch of ‘déjà vu’ for Song as he claimed the SMBC Singapore Open with unflappable play over the closing holes of the tournament in a Monday finish.
He sank a testing 10 footer for par at the 16th then parred the last two holes for a one-under 70 and a total of 12-under 272, one ahead of Spieth.
Three-time champion Adam Scott of Australia and popular Spaniard Sergio Garcia have also confirmed their participation in the SMBC Singapore Open, which will be celebrating its 51st anniversary.