Published on January 11, 2019

SMBC Singapore Open, the Curtain Raiser for the 2019 Asian Tour Season

Poom Saksansin of Thailand. Photo: Asian Tour

The SMBC Singapore Open will raise the curtains for the 2019 Asian Tour season at the Sentosa Golf Club, which is also the Home of the Asian Tour next week.

A stellar 156-man field from the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO) is expected to lock horns with a host of other star players that include defending champion Sergio Garcia from Spain, American great Davis Love III, the World Golf Hall of Famer, Englishmen Paul Casey and Matthew Fitzpatrick from January 17-20.

The US$1 million event, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and JGTO, continues to be part of The Open Qualifying Series for the third consecutive year with the leading four players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 12 and ties earning their places at the 148th Open in July.

Among the Asian challengers include Thailand Poom Saksansin who won the Tour’s season-finale in Jakarta in December.

The 25-year-old Thai, dubbed ‘The Assassin’ for his high-profile defeats of Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Paul Casey on the Asian Tour last year, will be hoping to play to his strengths when he tackles the demanding Serapong course next week.

“Sentosa is very tough. It’s long for me because I don’t hit it very far so I have to rely on my short game and smart play. The greens are fast and very firm. I will need to work on hitting my iron shots high onto those greens.

“Last year I felt like I played really well. There were no huge mistakes and I finished tied-12th,” said Poom.

53 Tour champions, including five Asian Tour Order of Merit champions, will be part of the elite field vying for top honours.

Notable players in the field include South Africa’s Justin Harding, Zimbabwean Scott Vincent and Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, who finished in third, fifth and ninth place respectively on the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2018.

Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa together with compatriot Shugo Imahira will further fan the crowd’s interest at the SMBC Singapore Open.

Imahira topped the money list on the JGTO last year and will be making his debut at the Masters Tournament in April after accepting a special invitation extended to him.