Green spearheads Asian Tour challenge at S'pore Open

Malaysian Gavin Green will be the Asian Tour's biggest hope at the Jan 18-21 SMBC Singapore Open as its reigning Order of Merit winner.
Malaysian Gavin Green will be the Asian Tour's biggest hope at the Jan 18-21 SMBC Singapore Open as its reigning Order of Merit winner.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Malaysian Gavin Green will spearhead the Asian Tour's assault at this month's SMBC Singapore Open which features a strong field that includes 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia and 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen.

The 24-year-old Green, who last season became his country's first Order of Merit winner, collected his maiden Asian Tour victory at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters in October and will be keen to add another title in the Asian Tour's season-opener at Sentosa Golf Club.

He will be joined at the Jan 18-21 tournament by a host of Asian Tour veterans, including defending champion Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand, Indians Shiv Kapur, SSP Chawrasia, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Arjun Atwal as well as former Singapore Open champions Jeev Milkha Singh (2008), Thaworn Wiratchant (2001), Jyoti Randhawa (2000) and Zaw Moe (1997).

Green has a score to settle with the Serapong Course, which drew close to 25,000 spectators last year.

He had opened with rounds of 66 and 68 last year and was second at the halfway mark of the US$1 million (S$1.35 million) event but his challenge came unstuck with a third-round 82.

He said yesterday in a statement: "It was my first time in that position (second at the halfway mark). You know, it was all new.

"I am a little stronger than last year and control my game a little bit better, control my ball a little better. So yeah, I am looking forward to coming back."

He added that hitting fairways on the brutal 6,741m Serapong Course was the first priority.

"If you are going to score well, you have to hit a lot of fairways, give yourself looks for birdies and hopefully, some of them drop. It will be a rough day definitely if you are in that rough a lot, it will punish you," he said.

The 52nd edition of the Singapore Open is jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation.

Spaniard Garcia, at world No. 10, is the highest-ranked player in the field followed by American Pat Perez (No. 19) and South Africa's Oosthuizen at world No. 23.

• Tickets are available at smbcsingaporeopen.com

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2018, with the headline 'Green spearheads Asian Tour challenge at S'pore Open'. Print Edition | Subscribe