Tour Champions Ready to Light Up Zaykabar Myanmar Open

Wed 06 Feb 2013

Tour Champions Ready to Light Up Zaykabar Myanmar Open

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Yangon, Myanmar, February 6: Japanese star Tetsuji Hiratsuka and title holder Kieran Pratt will lead a stellar cast of no fewer than 25 Asian Tour champions to season-opening the Zaykabar Myanmar Open presented by Alpine later this month.
Hiratsuka, who is a three-time Asian Tour winner, is ready to reclaim the Myanmar Open trophy which he won so convincingly in 2010.
He is among a star-studded cast who will assemble at the US$300,000 Asian Tour event including reigning Order of Merit winner Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand and Rikard Karlberg of Sweden.
Mardan Mamat of Singapore, highly rated Arnond Vongvanij of Thailand and Himmat Rai of India will also be in the elite field at the season-opener at the Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club from February 21 to 24.
Hiratsuka will be joined by countryman Masanori Kobayashi, who won his maiden Asian Tour title at the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open last year and was named the 2012 Rookie of the Year, and Yuta Ikeda, a 10-time champion in Japan.
After winning the Myanmar Open in 2010, Hiratsuka went on to enjoy two remarkable seasons on the Asian Tour where he won three other titles and finished a career high of second on the 2011 Asian Tour Order of Merit.
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He uncharacteristically missed six straight cuts on the Asian Tour last season without a single top-10 but will be determined to kick start the new season with a fifth Asian Tour victory at the Zaykabar Myanmar Open presented by Alpine.
“I hurt my back last June and have been struggling with the pain. It slowly got better in the year and I’m looking forward to returning to Myanmar again,” said Hiratsuka.
Taking a leaf from Hiratsuka’s book, Kobayashi earned playing rights at the 2012 Qualifying School and enjoyed a highly successful rookie year on the Asian Tour where he finished fourth on the Order of Merit, courtesy of one victory and two other top-10s.
“Hiratsuka and (Daisuke) Maruyama have enjoyed success on the Asian Tour so I decided to follow in their footsteps. They love playing in different countries and they have improved tremendously in their games,” said Kobayashi.
The lanky Japanese, who traded his baseball bat to golf clubs as a teenager, is tipped to shine in the 2013 season alongside Daisuke Kataoka, who finished 44th on the Order of Merit last season to retain his full Asian Tour card.
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 Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner), Cityneon (Official Event Overlay Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.