Manila, November 7: Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung will have some ‘unfinished business’ to attend to when he tees off for the popular Resorts World Manila Masters which starts on Thursday.
The 27-year-old Fung hopes to take advantage of his impeccable track record at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club to finally win the US$1 million event this week for his second Asian Tour title this season.
Fung, who secured his breakthrough victory in June, has claimed three top-10 results in his last four appearances at the Manila showpiece.
He came agonisingly close to winning the tournament last year, closing with five successive birdies for a nine-under-par 63 to make the play-off but eventually settled for a joint runner-up finish after losing to S.S.P. Chawrasia of India.
With his maiden Asian Tour win already in his bag, Fung will be riding high on his confidence and ready to take on the starry line-up assembled at the Resorts World Manila Masters, which is celebrating its fifth edition as the richest tournament in the Philippines.
In-form Ajeetesh Sandhu of India, young Thai talent Poom Saksansin and local hope Miguel Tabuena will also be amongst the talented 132-man field from over 25 countries challenging for honours this week.
Tabuena will spearhead the local charge alongside living legend Frankie Minoza, 2011 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Juvic Pagunsan and Antonio Lascuna and they will all be vying to become the first Filipino to win the prestigious event since it was inaugurated in 2013.
Order of Merit leader Gavin Green of Malaysia, as well as all four past winners of the tournament, namely Liang Wen-chong of China (2013), Mardan Mamat of Singapore (2014), Thailand’s Natipong Srithong (2015) and Chawrasia (2016) are also set to feature in the Resorts World Manila Masters this week.
Other sponsors of the Resorts World Manila Masters Presented by Philippine Department of Tourism include Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club (Host venue), Marriott (Hotel Partner) Konami, Scientific Games, Aristocrat, Levelwear, IGT Asia Pte Ldt, Empire Automation, VYCON RGD LTD, PLDT Enterprise, Ecco Golf and Dalmore.
Did you know?
- Fung is making his fifth consecutive appearance at the Resorts World Manila Masters this week. He has claimed three top-10s in his last four attempts at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club.
- Fung settled for a joint runner-up finish last year after losing to Chawrasia in the play-off. He had closed with five successive birdies from the 14th hole to sign for a final round nine-under-par 63 in regulation play and force the play-off.
- Fung claimed his breakthrough on the Asian Tour at the Queen’s Cup in June. He sits in 23rd place on the current Order of Merit.
- Sandhu has claimed one win and three top-three finishes in his last six starts on Tour. His maiden win came at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Chinese Taipei last month.
- After securing his breakthrough win on the region’s premier Tour, the 29-year-old Sandhu went on to secure a play-off victory on the Japan Challenge Tour the following week.
Sandhu is making only his second appearance at the Resorts World Manila Masters. He last played the popular tournament in 2013 where he unfortunately missed the halfway cut.
- Poom secured his second Asian Tour win in India three months ago. He also notched two other top-five finishes to move to eighth place on the money list.
- The 24-year-old Poom is making his third appearance in the Resorts World Manila Masters this week. He came in tied-67th in 2014 and tied-18th in 2015.
- Tabuena, a one-time Asian Tour winner in 2015, emerged as the highest placed Filipino when he finished in tied-13th place last year. It was his best finish in his last four appearances at the Resorts World Manila Masters.
- The 23-year-old Tabuena has enjoyed three top-10s this season to sit in a current 35th place on the Merit rankings.
- Mardan, who just turned 50 last week, holds the tournament record of the lowest winning score and the largest winning margin with his victory in 2014. He had won by six shots with a winning total of 20-under-par 268 that year.
Nicholas Fung (Mas)
I am really happy to be back here. It’s one of my favourite events. The golf course is looking great this week. I hope I can win this time, having finished inside top-10 thrice in my last four starts here.
At this moment, I am still feeling tired due to the long journey here from India. I hope to get some rest these two days and I will be ready for the tournament on Thursday. My game’s been pretty consistent as of late.
I believe I have an advantage this week because this course suits my game a lot. I have been playing well here the last four years. This year, I am coming into the week with my first Asian Tour title already in the bag so I am definitely feeling more confident than previous years.
But having said that, I don’t want to put so much pressure on myself. I just want to go out and enjoy the course, like what I used to before. I will try to have fun and go for some low scores this week. There are so many good players here this week. I just want to go out and play as good as I can.
This course is not too long for me. It is similar to the course in Koh Samui, Thailand, where I won earlier in June. You can use a mid-iron for every approach shots as the greens are soft here. The greens are in top conditions too.
Ajeetesh Sandhu (Ind)
This is my second time playing the Resorts World Manila Masters. The last time I played was in 2013. I played in the pro-am tournament this morning and I thought the course is playing a lot harder now.
The course is quite soft and the greens are pretty tough. The wind was up today too. The game feels fine. I am still riding on my good form. I had a great finish on home soil last week so I am looking forward to this week.
I am enjoying the way that I am playing. I am not setting any targets for myself this week. I just want to play my game and have fun out there. I am not thinking about the results.
Poom Saksansin (Tha)
The course is looking really nice for this week. It was pretty windy today. I don’t usually play well in the wind but I will try my best this week. Even if I don’t play well, at least I get to learn how to play in this wind.
The last month has been great for me, having played in big events like the CIMB Classic and the WGC-HSBC Champions. I haven’t really find the confidence in my game yet but it is all good experiences for me which has definitely helped me grow as a player.
I hope for a good result this week as it will put my game in good shape for the bigger events coming up towards the end of the season.
Miguel Tabuena (Phi)
I have been playing well the past couple of weeks. I got a bit of a rest in Hong Kong last week and I am feeling good coming here. The game’s feeling pretty solid too. It’s always great to be playing a tournament at home.
I emerged as the top Filipino in this tournament last year. It’s always a pleasure to be the top performer from your country but it would have been better if I could have finish inside top-10. I finished in a share of 13th place but it was still a good result.
I hope I can better last year’s result this week! It’s the fifth edition of the tournament and no Filipino player has won it yet. It’s definitely what I am aiming for. I will try my best this week. I believe I have the chances. I am going to grind hard and hopefully my hard work will pay off.
About Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Panasonic (Official Consumer Electronics), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), FENIX XCell (Official Apparel Supplier), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner), Wall Street Journal (Official International Media Partner) and Sentosa in Singapore which is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
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