Sentosa, Singapore, January 18: Read how contenders rate their chances ahead of this week’s SMBC Singapore Open which tees off on Thursday.
Adam Scott (Aus)
Well, the course – it’s one of those things for me, so I’ve just managed to play well here. I stand on the tee and my ball ends up in the fairway more often than not over the years, so it’s one of those things. It seems fairly generous in spots, this golf course, but you still have to be quite precise; it has really big greens. If you hit it a long way from the hole you’re really going to struggle.
It just fits my eye, and fortunately and happily I’ve taken advantage of that a few times here. I have a strong connection here to Singapore and Sentosa over the last 10 or 12 years. It’s a tournament that I very much enjoy; a great golf course. All these things contribute to making my decision where to play, and it’s a nice way for me to start the year quite close to home.
I think I’m a much better golfer now than I was 12 years ago, but I obviously played well that week to win. So much about me has changed in that time. I’m now married and I have a daughter. So much happens in a decade, so it’s completely different. I feel a lot more comfortable and understand my game so much better, but I just have to figure out how to apply all that on a more regular basis, to the best of my ability.
Ernie Els (Rsa)
I’ve played here many times and I’ve always had a great time here. I love the city, I love the course, and this year it’s in unbelievable condition. It’s amazing how far they’ve come – the course has changed tremendously for the better since the first time I came here in 2005 or 2006. It’s really a world class golf course and event.
But it’s also a tricky golf course – it’s got some length and is sneakily long, especially at my age. But I really enjoy the course. It’s not the easiest place to make birdies sometimes because the greens are so huge and they’ve got great speed this week, so it’s going to be quite difficult to get the ball closer to the hole. You’ve really got to be thinking this week.
The Open Championship caters to the whole world and I’m sure it’s the biggest field in the world, so being able qualify through playing certain events is great and just gives you a bigger incentive.
Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind)
The Serapong course is in great condition. I am very happy to be back here. It definitely brings back a lot of good memories for me, having won the Singapore Open here in 2008. It was a fantastic year for me in 2008. In fact, 2006 has been great for me too. I won four times that year to win the Order of Merit. It was excellent that I managed to repeat that in 2008, winning some big events in Singapore and Japan.
I went up to 29th position on the world rankings that year. Whenever you come back to a golf course that has given you a life-changing experience, it’s always very positive. The energy is always positive and you feel really good to be back.
I have a lot of good memories here at the Serapong course. It is a very challenging golf course. It requires a lot of good routines, processes and all sorts of mental strength to stick to what you are supposed to do. A lot of things will come in your mind but you got to come back to what it takes to hit a good golf shot and stick to that. There are a lot of times where you will hit bad shots but you got to take the medicine and move on to the next hole.
We have got a lot of good and young players out here now on the Asian Tour. They have got a lot of potential and they are fearless and that’s what I like. I always tell them at the end of the day, you got to push your limits to get to where you want to. I know they look up to me but I am just doing my job, as best as possible. I am fortunate enough that they gave me the respect and I am thankful. I will still keep doing my job and play the best that I can for the next 10 years.
Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind)
I am really excited about this week. I have worked hard during the off season. I finished the last season, especially the second half, in a very positive mode so I am really hoping to get on the good side of the draw this week and try to get some momentum going.
There have been a lot of positivity during the second half of the season last year, having two wins in four months. I am glad my hard work paid off. It feels great to get what you wanted to after putting in so many hours.
I got back my confidence after winning in Korea. That was my first since my wrist injury a few years back. When I had the injury in 2015, I struggled because I don’t know if I should give my 100% on the driving range and in my short game. I was holding myself back and I wasn’t able to put in more hours to work on the game.
But I am glad I managed to win again last year. I gave it all I had and got back the confidence. With the way I played last four months, I am riding high on confidence and I have a lot of goals and aspirations for the year. I think I am ready for the second phase of my career. I am looking forward to a lot of new opportunities this year.
The Serapong course is quite a test for us this week but it’s definitely one of my favourite golf courses in Asia. I remembered playing well here in 2008 and earned my spot for The Open by playing well here in 2009. I have a lot of positive memories of this golf course. I really enjoy myself inside the fence whenever I am here.
Nicholas Fung (Mas)
I think it’s always important to play well in the first event. I have been playing well since last year so I am hoping to continue my good form into this new season. This is my fifth time playing at the Sentosa Golf Club but I have never make the cut before.
I love the golf course but I have never made the cut here. It’s a very tricky golf course. There are a lot of traps out there. But if you can avoid them, you should be able to play well here.
I finished 12th on the Order of Merit last year. It was the best I have had in my career. I am pleased with my performance but nothing changes. I will keep playing and keep doing what I have been doing well and continue to look for their breakthrough win.
I am not the best with my putter on Tour but I think I am one of the straightest hitters here. If I can keep the ball in play and sink a few putts, I believe I can put myself in contention.
I went to Europe for about two weeks during my off season. I managed to clear my mind and get recharged for the New Year. I am ready to start afresh for this new season! Apart from winning, my target is also to finish inside top-10 on the Order of Merit. I missed out on that last year so hopefully I can achieve it this year.
Yuta Ikeda (Jpn)
After finishing last Season, I had some good rest. Started training from Jan 5 for 10days before coming here. Training was just physical training and not much golf club in my hand. It was more like to recharge my physical fitness because it was long season last year. It was good training. At this point, my schedule is almost the same as last year. I’ll play in Singapore and Myanmar, before going back to training and prepare for Masters Tournament. I heard from a local friend that the weather is better this year, so I hope the weather stays good this year. The golf course is always in a good condition. It’s also very well maintained. I am excited with the grouping tomorrow. Playing with Adam Scott and defending champion Young-Han Song. First time playing with Adam since 2015 when he played the Japan Open.