Serapong Set for Singapore’s 51st National Open

Ernie Els will compete in Singapore this month.
Ernie Els will compete in Singapore this month.

Singapore: Major champions and an all-star cast from the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO) will ensure a memorable start to the 2017 season at this month’s SMBC Singapore Open.
The US$1 million event, from January 19-22, is jointly-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and JGTO.
It has attracted a stellar field that includes four-time Major winner Ernie Els of South Africa as well as Australian Adam Scott and debutant Sergio Garcia of Spain, ranked seventh and 13th in the world respectively.
Asian Tour International Ambassador and honorary member Els and Scott, who has won the Singapore Open title a record three times, are appearing in the tournament for the first time since it returned to the schedule in 2016 following a three-year absence.
Five Asian Tour Order of Merit champions and over 35 tournament winners on will also be part of the field vying for top honours over the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club, a Golf Course Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
Thai legend Thaworn Wiratchant, who holds an unprecedented 18 wins on the Asian Tour, will contend for the title alongside multiple winners Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei as well as Indians Gaganjeet Bhullar, SSP Chawrasia and Rashid Khan.
Young talents Carlos Pigem of Spain and the Thai trio of Pavit Tangkamolprasert, Poom Saksansin and Thitiphun Chuayprakong, who all claimed their breakthroughs on the Asian Tour last season, will aim to kick off their season on a high note at Sentosa.
Pavit, who finished a career-high 10th place on the Order of Merit last season, is relishing his opportunity to participate in the Singapore Open for the second time since turning professional 10 years ago.
“The 2007 Singapore Open was the first professional tournament that I played outside of Thailand and I made the half-way cut! I’m looking forward to playing in this iconic event again,” said the 27-year-old.
Korean Song Young-han, who defeated former world number one Jordan Spieth last year, will be back to defend his title in the Singapore showpiece which also features compatriot Kim Kyung-tae, a three-time winner in Japan last season.
Singapore will be well-represented at the SMBC Singapore Open with five-time Asian Tour winner Mardan Mamat spearheading the local charge alongside Quincy Quek, Koh Deng Shan, Marc Kawasoe, Johnson Poh and Mitchell Slorach.
Other notable players in the field include Malaysian Danny Chia, Lu Wei-chih of Chinese Taipei, Thai veteran Prayad Marksaeng, Filipinos Angelo Que and Miguel Tabuena, China’s Liang Wen-chong and Japanese Yuta Ikeda and Hideto Tanihara.
The SMBC Singapore Open, which marks the 51st staging of Singapore’s national Open, will be part of The Open Qualifying Series for 2017.
The leading two non-exempt players, who finish in the top-10 and ties at the season-opener, will secure their spots in the field at The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale from July 16-23.

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