Tour stars have their war-faces on #MyanmarOpen

Tue 24 Jan 2017

Tour stars have their war-faces on #MyanmarOpen

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Yangon, Myanmar, January 24: Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines hopes to rediscover the competitive mood when he challenges for the title at the US$750,000 Leopalace21 Myanmar Open which starts on Thursday.
Playing in his third week in a row, Tabuena, who finished a career high of fifth place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit last year, believes he has yet to hit top form and play to his full potential.
The 22-year-old got off to a hot start in his first two tournaments but took his foot off the pedal before slipping down the leaderboard. He is determined not to repeat the same mistakes at the Pun Hlaing Golf Club.
Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines
The 22-year-old will contend for the title against defending champion Shaun Norris of South Africa and Yuta Ikeda of Japan, the highest ranked player this week in 34th position on the Official World Golf Ranking, at the event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour.
Norris, who won the event last year albeit on a different course, is determined to rediscover his putting touch. The flat stick which guided him to his second Asian Tour title last year was dented on a plane but he has settled for a putter which has the same feel.
After enjoying a stellar 2016 season where he won three titles in Japan and notched six runner-up finishes, Ikeda is eager to find his winning momentum again after missing the cut in Singapore last week.
Also in the field this week is local talent Ye Htet Aung, who is among the 15 players from Myanmar aiming to win their National Open. Despite missing the halfway at the Qualifying School in Thailand last week, Ye believes the experience will be put to good use this week.
Interesting facts of the day:

  • Miguel Tabuena was tied sixth after 36 holes in Singapore last week before finishing in tied 46th position.

  • In 2016, Tabuena finished runner-up twice and notched two top-10 results which helped him finish in fifth place on the Order of Merit, his best placing in his career.

  • Since winning the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open in February last year, Shaun Norris has only notched one runner-up result in South Africa and a tied fifth place finish in Japan. He says he has been struggling to find his touch on the greens.
    Shaun Norris of South Africa Shaun Norris of South Africa

  • When Norris won the 2016 Leopalace21 Myanmar Open, he only dropped five shots the entire week highlighted by his third round 61 where he sank 23 putts.

  • In 27 appearances in 2016, Yuta Ikeda only missed two halfway cuts. He won three titles in Japan. In his last five events last year, he finished second three times, won once and enjoyed a tied 12th result.

  • Ikeda is the second Japanese player inside the top-50 on the latest Official World Golf Ranking. He is ranked 34th in the world.

  • Ye Htet Aung hopes to become the first player from Myanmar to win his National Open. Another 14 local players join him in the search for glory.

Key Quotes:
Miguel Tabuena (Phi)
I have to shake off some of the rust because of the Christmas break. I’ve been playing well the first two days but slacking off in the last two rounds. I need to put four rounds together and I’ll be up there on the leaderboard.
I need to get back into the competitive mood instead of playing casual golf. You need to put yourself in a situation where you can challenge for the trophy on Sunday. I believe I can do that but I get ahead of myself and want to win on the third day. You can play aggressive but you need to be smart.
"I’ve been playing well the first two days but slacking off in the last two rounds." - Miguel Tabuena

Shaun Norris (Rsa)
My putter got dented in a plane after my win last year and I’ve been struggling to find for a putter that feels like that.
I’ve found a putter that feels close to what I had last year. I met the creator of the putter I was using in Hong Kong and he sent an e-mail to me after the Hong Kong Open that he found one of the heads lying in his house. It is being shipped so I can use it again when I’m back in South Africa.
I’m not disappointed I can’t use it this week because this putter is working nicely and I really enjoy putting on the greens. I hope I can knock the putts in again so I’m really looking forward to the week.
Shaun Norris of South Africa has traditional Thanaka sun block applied to his face Shaun Norris of South Africa
Yuta Ikeda (Jpn)
I played very well last year and it showed when I won the Order of Merit in Japan. But this is a new season and I’m focussed on this week. I missed the cut last week so I’m a bit disappointed but this is like a new tournament for me.
It is great that the Japan Golf Tour sanctions this event with the Asian Tour. We get to play in different countries and you get to learn more. I think the Japanese players can improve by competing around the world. There are many good players this week so I’m really looking forward to the challenge.
There is trouble on most holes and some of the holes are very narrow. I think you need to find the fairway on every hole. This tournament has a lot of history so I want to win it this week.
Ye Htet Aung (Mya)
I’m feeling very proud (representing his country) and my game is getting better and better. I won two events on the local circuit last year so I have a lot of confidence. I played in Qualifying School but I missed the cut there.
I’m not sad because I gained a lot of experience. I played with some good players and I watched how they played and planned their shots. It was very valuable experience for me.
About the 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 ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), FENIX XCell (Official Apparel Supplier), Hilton Worldwide (Official Hotel Partner), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Sponsor), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official Business Publication Sponsor) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
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