Yangon, January 23: South Africa’s Shaun Norris arrived in Myanmar in confident mood and believes he stands a good chance of recapturing the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open title when the US$750,000 event starts on Thursday.
Norris’ tied-second finish in Singapore last week has given him the belief he can mount another serious charge and lift the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open title which he won in 2016.
Defending champion Todd Sinnott of Australia missed the cut in Singapore last week and while the fortunes maybe different for Norris and Sinnott in the Lion City, their goal of winning Myanmar’s National Open again remains the same.
Sinnott, who stood on the brink of missing the cut to lifting his maiden Asian Tour title at the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open last year, is determined to show his battling spirit at the Pun Hlaing Golf Club again.
Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa is also eager for a return to the winner’s circle in what will be his first visit to Myanmar for the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open.
Ishikawa ended 2017 with a tied-second finish on the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO) and continued to underline his status as one of Japan’s most popular players by battling into contention in his season-opening event in Singapore only to fall short at the final hurdle last week.
Myanmar’s Ye Htet Aung and Naing Naing Lin will spearhead the local charge as they are among the 17 local hopefuls ready to make an impact on home soil this week.
Did you know?
- Shaun Norris had a stunning 61 on the third day of the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open to thank for helping him secure victory in 2016.
- It was Norris’ second title on the Asian Tour following his maiden victory at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Chinese Taipei in 2015.
- Norris is currently leading the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
- Todd Sinnott secured a convincing three-shot victory at the 2017 Leopalace21 Myanmar Open in what was only his second tournament in Asia after graduating from Qualifying School last year.
The Australian nearly missed the weekend rounds, and made it through with just two strokes to spare from the cut.
- After hitting six balls into the water in the opening two rounds and making the cut, Sinnott moved from 40th position to tied fourth after the third day and cruised to victory thanks to six birdies in the final round.
- Ishikawa, nicknamed the ‘Bashful Prince’ for his boyish good looks, first burst into the scene when he became the youngest winner to win on the JGTO in 2007 as a 15-year-old amateur.
- Ishikawa received a special exemption to play in the Masters Tournament in 2013 where he finished tied-38th.
- 2009 was one of Ishikawa’s most successful years as a professional when he triumphed four times and topped the JGTO Money List.
- Ishikawa was the youngest golfer to break into the world’s top-50 in 2009 but has seen his world rankings dropped to 218th.
- He started his season with a tied-16th result in Singapore last year.
- Ye Htet Aung is one of the few players from Myanmar playing on the Asian Tour and Asian Development Tour. His best result on the Asian Tour came at the Indonesian Open last year where he finished tied-18th.
- Naing Naing Lin is the highest ranked player from Myanmar. He topped the domestic Order of Merit in 2017.
Winning the Leoplace21 Myanmar Open in 2016 was a defining moment in my career as that victory taught me many things about myself not only as a golfer but as a person. – Shaun Norris
Shaun Norris (Rsa)
I have very good memories here in Myanmar and I always enjoy myself whenever I come back here. I had a good result in Singapore and I’m feeling very good about my game at the moment. So I’m definitely looking forward to the week. Winning the Leoplace21 Myanmar Open in 2016 was a defining moment in my career as that victory taught me many things about myself not only as a golfer but as a person. It’s shaping up to be a good week here in Myanmar and I’m looking forward to it.
Todd Sinnott (Aus)
I went out to play several holes earlier this morning and just being back here on the golf course evokes many good memories. That win last year has opened many doors for me. I got the chance to play all over the world and it gave me a full schedule to play on. Before that I was just relying on invites and things were very uncertain then. I got to play on different golf courses and it taught me a lot as a player too. I learnt how to vary my shots, the kind of approaches and how to play on different type of grass. I got my brother to carry my bag for me this week and it’s really nice to have him with me and share my experience with him. We went out for some sightseeing and went to the Shwedagon Pagoda and it was one of the most amazing places I’ve seen in my life.
Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn)
I’m very excited about playing in Myanmar this week. This is my first visit to Myanmar and I want to make it a memorable one. I was quite disappointed with my finish in Singapore last week as I was in contention until the final day. So, I’m hoping I can play better this week and go for that win again. The weather has been great so far and the course conditions look very good.
Ye Htet Aung (Myn)
I’m very thankful that I got an invitation to play in this tournament. I missed the cut at the Asian Tour Qualifying School and I hope to have another chance of making up for that. I’ve prepared myself well and I’ve practiced hard since coming back from Qualifying School. Hopefully I’ll have a good chance of doing well on home soil this week.
Naing Naing Lin (Myn)
As the Order of Merit winner in Myanmar, I want to play well and make Myanmar proud. It’s not going to be easy especially with the strong field but I’ll try my very best. This is our country’s national open and it’s important for us local players to play well. We also want to showcase to the world how golf in Myanmar has grown and this is a good tournament for us to do that.
Founded in 1973, Leopalace21 is a real estate company which constructs and rents apartments, currently managing 560 thousand rooms in Japan. The company also owns and operates a 36-hole golf course and resort facility in Guam, as well as 15 overseas offices which introduce residences and offices to Japanese companies advancing into the ASEAN region.
Leopalace21 Corporation: http://eg.leopalace21.com/
Leopalace Resort Guam: http://www.guam.ne.jp/
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), 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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