Golf: Sergio Garcia set to return to Sentosa to defend SMBC Singapore Open title

Crowd favourite Sergio Garcia will be making his third successive appearance at the SMBC Singapore Open. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Crowd favourite Sergio Garcia will defend his title at the Jan 17-20 SMBC Singapore Open, organisers confirmed on Tuesday (Sept 18).

The tournament, which will be played at Sentosa Golf Club, is jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation, and will have a prize fund of at least US$1 million (S$1.37 million).

Garcia, 38, will be making his third successive appearance at the SMBC Singapore Open.

In January, the Spaniard lived up to his star billing by playing some exquisite golf to win by five strokes.

"It was great winning in Singapore earlier this year as a memorable 12 months for me came full circle," said the 38-year-old Garcia, who won the Masters last year.

"Things really started to happen after my debut in the SMBC Singapore Open at the start of 2017 and winning on my return was really big.

"The SMBC Singapore Open is a top-class event on a great golf course and I am pleased to be able to defend my title next year.

"Starting my golfing year in Singapore is definitely the way to go."

Singapore Golf Association president Ross Tan hailed Garcia and the star power the Spaniard brings to the Singapore Open.

"It was wonderful that a Major champion of Garcia's stature added his name to the list of notables who have won the SMBC Singapore Open and it will be a pleasure to welcome him back as defending champion," said Tan. "He is a true fan favourite and his play at this year's tournament was of an exceptionally high standard."

For a third straight season, the SMBC Singapore Open will also be a part of the qualifying series for the 2019 British Open. The leading four non-exempt players at the SMBC Singapore Open will book their places for the July 18-21 tournament in Northern Ireland.

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