Macao, October 17: Read what players are saying ahead of the 2017 Macao Open which starts on Thursday.
Ajeetesh Sandhu (Ind)
The game is feeling pretty good as you can imagine. This is a course that I like. It’s narrow but I think it suits my game. I feel quite consistent so I am looking forward to the week.
The past two weeks have been pretty amazing. I didn’t expect to win back to back, although on different Tours. It takes care of a lot of things for me. I can just plan my schedule now and play whatever I feel like.
It usually plays a lot harder but this week, it’s different. It’s quite soft and I haven’t played in this windy condition before. It takes a bit of time to get used to but I have got two rounds in so I think I am ready to go for tomorrow.
I hope to play the best that I can this week. If I can do that, I should be up there on the leaderboard and contending for the title. That’s my target this week. I want to get off to a good start and play a few good rounds and see how it goes.
The EurAsia Cup has crossed my mind now that I have won my first title on the Asian Tour. With Arjun Atwal being the captain for Team Asia, it will be an honour if I can qualify.
I was out of the reckoning until two weeks ago but now, I think I can have a shot at it, provided I play well towards the end of the season. The big tournaments are coming up so if I can play well, I should be close to making it.
Scott Hend (Aus)
This is a very challenging golf course. Mentally and physically, you have to be on song. It’s quite tricky with the wind but I like the challenge. I enjoy the comfort of Macao and I Iike the food and people here. I hope my game will improve this week. I sort of lost a bit of form lately but I’m trying to get it back before the tournament starts.
With the big events like WGC-HSBC Champions coming up next week, I do hope to see myself in contention come Sunday. We will see if I can do it. The course does look different to me this year. There are much lesser trees now compared to the past. Some of my usual aiming points have disappeared.
I am trying to re-learn where my lines are. It’s windier now without the trees too but the greens are in unbelievably good conditions and the course is looking really good. I think the golf course is going to play pretty nice this week.
All other 143 players in the field are my competitors this week.
Poom Saksansin (Tha)
I had a good experience playing my first PGA Tour event in Malaysia last week. I thought I played well but I just can’t seem to put together a good score. It was really exciting playing against some of the top players in the world. It’s a good chance to learn from these players.
The course is looking nice this week. A lot of trees are gone due to the typhoons earlier. The course is a little bit soft. I am in good form right now so I hope to maintain it and play well this week. Tee shots are very important on this course. You need to keep the ball in play and hit as many fairways as possible.
Pavit Tangkamolprasert (Tha) – Defending Champion
The game’s feeling alright. I am beginning to find some form with my driver now. I had a chance to play at the St. Andrews old course when I played the British Masters on the European Tour a few weeks ago and it was such an honour to play at the home of golf. It was a great experience.
It’s great to be back here in Macao. It has been exactly a year since the late Thai king passed away. We continue to mourn him back home in Thailand as we prepare for his funeral later this month. I believe he will continue to watch over us from above.
I had a week off last week. I went to the gym, did some practice and get my body ready for this week. The memories from my win last year are still vivid in my mind. Last year, we were mourning the death of our King and this week, it feels the same again as we are preparing for his funeral later this month. People are wearing black again in Thailand.
I didn’t know Anirban Lahiri was on a birdie streak last year. I only knew he was close when I was on the 17. It is good that I didn’t know earlier as that could add pressure on me. I wasn’t expecting much too when I know I am heading into a play-off.
I have nothing to lose. I just needed a good score to keep my card. I just went out and play my best. Winning the Macao Open last year has since boosted my career. I get in to bigger events now and it has been a great learning experience for me the last one year.
I get the opportunities to play on the European Tour too. Things are really different over there. You need to adapt to the weather. Distance control is really key and playing conditions are tough with the strong winds. But having said that, playing under such testing conditions help your mental game too.
I hope to ride on the happy memories out there to cap another good result this week and I will play with nothing to lose, just like last year.
Shubhankar Sharma (Ind)
The game is in a good shape. I played really well to win on my local circuit held on my home course last week. It’s been a long while since I last won. It’s good coming in to this week with a win. I played really well at the start of the season and cooled down a little bit in the middle but there are still a lot of important events coming up. I am still hoping to do well and try to contend.
This course is very challenging off the tee. You need to position the ball properly and you need to hit it very straight off the tee. That’s one thing I believe all the players will be looking at this week – to position themselves well off the tee and give themselves opportunities for birdies.
Ajeetesh (Sandhu)’s victory in Chinese Taipei two weeks ago was very inspiring to me. He is a very good friend of mine so I am happy to see him secure his first win on the Asian Tour. We came from the same town and we have been pretty close for the past few years. He has worked very hard for it. His win has definitely pushed all the players, like myself, to play well as well.
I guess that was one of the reasons why I won last week. I was very inspired by his win. Even this course, the Indian players have played very well here. Anirban and Chikkarangappa S. played good here last year and Gaganjeet (Bhullar) has also won here before.
Overall, the season has been good, a little bit of up and down but I think there are still a lot of things to work on for the rest of the season. I will try my best to contend.
Jazz Janewattananond (Tha)
I had a great experience playing in the CIMB Classic last week. I learnt a lot of stuff from the PGA Tour players. It’s great to be playing against some of the world’s top players. It’s refreshing to see how far I have come to play on that level.
I had some good memories here. I didn’t play last year but two years ago, I eagled the last hole 18 to finish tied-sixth. I hit it into the rough and laid it up before getting it in the hole from 150 yards! I remember there was a huge crowd there and they were all cheering for me.
The course looks a bit different from two years ago but it looks like they have recovered well from the typhoon earlier. This is my eighth week in a row. I just want to play my best out there. Earlier, I had the pressure of trying to keep myself inside top-10 to qualify for the CIMB Classic but now, I can just play my game and hopefully made my good season even better.