Asian Tour stars hail return of Singapore Open
Singapore , September 6: Asian Tour stars have hailed the return of the Singapore Open after a three-year break, saying the US$2 million championship will set a new standard in the region.
The Singapore Open begins at Sentosa Golf Club's award-winning Serapong championship course on Thursday where it will take its place as the richest Open in Asia . World number seven Adam Scott of Australia will headline this week's field alongside many of the Asian Tour's stalwarts including Thaworn Wiratchant, Thongchai Jaidee, Jyoti Randhawa and Zhang Lian-wei.
"It's wonderful that we've got the Singapore Open back on the schedule and it's certainly back with a bang," said India 's Amandeep Johl, who is also the chairman of the Tournament Players Committee on Tour.
"With such a big prize fund, our players have been scheduling their year around the Singapore Open. Everyone wants to be in the best shape for this championship and everyone is looking forward to it.
"Being a full-field Asian Tour event is also a great opportunity for our players to stamp their mark. This event is great for the Tour and it shows that we are growing and the world will be watching us with keen interest over the next few years.
"I believe when the other events see the Singapore Open coming back after a few years and offering US$2 million this week, they will ask themselves why can't they raise their event as well. It will set a new benchmark for other Opens," predicted Johl.
Singapore-base Australian Scott Barr, currently fifth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, is also looking forward to what he said was the "biggest event in the second half of the year for us."
"Everyone is looking forward to it as it's the biggest event in this half of the year," said Barr, who will be searching for his maiden Tour title this week. "The Singapore golfing public is looking forward to this event and it's a big milestone for the Asian Tour.
"Sentosa has been massively supportive and I know they want to make the Open bigger and better. The course is perfect and it should be a great week. It's a beautiful golf course, probably the best that we've played all year."
The par-71 Serapong course is expected to test the players this week as the rough has been left to grow to punishing heights. "That's how it should be for a major event with such a big prize fund. We don't want players to run away with it," said India 's Jeev Milkha Singh on the course set-up.
Canadian Rick Gibson, an old hand in Asia , predicted a bright future for the Singapore Open, which was last played in 2001. "I think it's important that Singapore , being one of the financial capitals in Asia , they need to have a big strong event. Our players have been talking about this event for six months and it'll be a good show."
He believes that other national Opens in Asia will also raise their profile and follow Singapore 's lead. "I think it's already happening. The Hong Kong Open has upgraded its prize fund, the Thailand Open was upgraded earlier year and hopefully some other national Opens will follow as well.
"The Singapore Open is going to raise the bar and it should have some great effects."
Englands ' Ryder Cup star Lee Westwood, Australians Craig Parry and Nick O'Hern and Japanese legend Isao Aoki will also played this week.
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