Japan Tour stars flock to SMBC Singapore Open #SingOpen

Tue 19 Jan 2016

Japan Tour stars flock to SMBC Singapore Open #SingOpen

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Singapore, January 18: Multiple winner Shingo Katayama and Kim Kyung-tae, who triumphed five times during an extraordinary 2015 season, will lead a power-packed contingent from the Japan Tour into next week’s SMBC Singapore Open.
Katayama and Kim, world ranked 58th and 59th respectively, will be joined by 12 other champions from the 2015 season, including Japan Open titleholder Satoshi Kodaira.
They will pose a serious threat to world number one Jordan Spieth of the United States, fellow Major men Darren Clarke and Y. E. Yang, in-form Welshman Jamie Donaldson and the best of the Asian Tour in the SMBC Singapore Open from January 28-31.
The iconic Singapore Open is being co-sanctioned by the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO) for the first time and their top players are keen to put on a show at Sentosa Golf Club.
The colourful Katayama has won 29 times on the JGTO, including the Taiheiyo Masters last year, topped the moneylist on five occasions and earned more than US$17 million in prize money.
Katayama will turn 43 on the final day of the SMBC Singapore Open and what better way to celebrate than with victory number 30.
The Japanese player has said that his form is still improving and that he “would like to win 35 times in total by the time I am 45.”
Korea's Kim, a former top-20 player, has rediscovered the midas touch since his success at the Thailand Open in June.
Subsequent victories in the Musee Platinum Open, Fujisankei Classic, Asia-Pacific Golf Championship and Mynavi ABC Championship saw him top the JGTO Order of Merit for the second time.
On Sunday, he claimed the scalp of world number 33 Bernd Wiesberger in the EurAsia Cup clash between Asia and Europe, winning their singles match 3&2 in Kuala Lumpur.
Kim reached a career high of 18th on the rankings in 2011 but swing changes, aimed at generating more length for a campaign on the PGA Tour, resulted in a lean period during which his world standing plummeted.
“Last year I asked my (senior) coach to help me and he reminded me of the swing I had last time. Now I have a good mental image of my swing - so that is why I am doing well,” explained Kim.
Kodaira’s victory in the Japan Open was his third on the JGTO and the 26 year old said that he was pleased to get the chance to add to his tally at the SMBC Singapore Open.
“I am very happy to see that the Singapore Open is going to be co-sanctioned by the JGTO and the Asian Tour. It is a big tournament and I am looking forward to playing,” he said.
“The highlight for me in 2015 was winning the Japan Open - I kept my focus well that week. In preparation for the new season I have been working on my putting.”
As well as Katayama, Kim and Kodaira 2015 JGTO Tour winners Michael Hendry, Adam Bland, Daisuke Kataoka, Liang Wenchong, Toshinori Muto, Prayad Marksaeng, Yuta Ikeda, Kim Hyung-sung, Hideto Tanihara, Yusaku Miyazato and Hwang Jung-gon will be competing in the SMBC Singapore Open.
Ends.
About Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC)
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) and its group companies offer a broad range of financial services centered on banking. They are also engaged in the leasing, securities, credit card, investment, mortgage securitization, venture capital and other credit related businesses.
About Lagardère Sports
Lagardère Sports is a leading sport marketing agency, with a global network of local experts dedicated to delivering innovative solutions that meet our clients’ needs. We believe sport inspires emotions and passion that are essential to enrich people’s lives and generate powerful collective experiences. At Lagardère Sports, we dedicate our expertise and passion to provide our clients with privileged access to the infinite opportunities of sports. Lagardère Sports is part of Lagardère Sports and Entertainment, a company with more than 1,600 employees worldwide and 50 years of experience.
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About the Singapore Golf Association
The Singapore Golf Association was registered on 5 October 1961 with the objective of encouraging and promoting the game of golf in Singapore. From a small association of golf clubs, SGA has grown to its present size comprising 13 Ordinary Members, 10 Associate Members and 5 Affiliate Members.  Its constitution was amended in 2001 to enable golf clubs without real estate to join SGA as Associate Members. This allowed the general golfing public to obtain and maintain a golf handicap without having to be members of golf and country clubs.  In 2010, the constitution was again amended to accept Affiliate Members which are any body, society, organisation or commercial entity committed to furthering the interest of the sport of golf to join SGA. SGA is a member of the International Golf Federation, Asia Pacific Golf Confederation and ASEAN Golf Federation.  As the governing body of golf, it is also an Affiliate Member of the Singapore Sports Council and the Singapore National Olympic Council.
About the Japan Golf Tour Organization
Originally founded in 1999, the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO) is the governing body for professional golf tournaments in Japan and aims to promote and develop golf throughout both Japan and the rest of the world. The JGTO is committed to partnering with new promoters and sponsors to develop more opportunities for their members to play and increase golfing standards.  As a member of the International Federation, official events on the Japan Golf Tour allow players to earn World Ranking points, and success on the tour may support members to qualify for the majors and WGC tournaments.
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 FENIX Golf (Official Apparel Supplier), Fuji Xerox (Official Office Solutions Partner), Hilton Worldwide (Official Hotel Partner), Titleist (Official Web Partner) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.
About Sentosa Golf Club
One of the most established golf clubs in Singapore, Sentosa Golf Club has more than 1,500 members, many of whom are prominent personalities from influential circles. It hosted Asia’s richest national tournament, the Singapore Open for eight years, where international star players and world-class golf professionals from Asia, Europe and the USA descended on its championship greens to putt for the generous prize purse. Offering more than just a good game of golf, the Club also has excellent meeting and banquet facilities for corporate networking as well as high-end dining options such as the quintessential Japanese cuisine at the Sushi Kondo Restaurant and Italian fare at the highly-acclaimed ilLido restaurant.