Mini battles within Singapore Open golf

November 12th, 2008 - 7:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Sentosa (Singapore), Nov 12 (IANS) Even with this star-studded field, there are many mini-battles and personal goals at stake in the $5 million Barclays Singapore Open golf starting Thursday. Top golfers like Australian Adam Scott is fighting his own form and demons as is Ernie Els.Both Scott and Els, once in top-5 of the world are out of top-10. Scott, however, hopes to cement his place in the history books by claiming an unprecedented third Singapore Open title.

While Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington, who have six Majors between them, will be hoping to end the season with a win, South Korean K.J. Choi, who never imagined he would play for a $5 million purse in Asia, also hopes to add the title to his kitty.

At another level, India’s Jeev Milkha Singh, Asia’s No.1 in 2006, and Kiwi Mark Brown are locked in a battle for the Order of Merit title.

Jeev knows that the victory will seal a second Asian Tour’s Order of Merit crown where he currently trails leader Mark Brown of New Zealand by over $137,000.

The Sentosa Golf Club’s Serapong course has been a favourite hunting ground for Scott after triumphing in Asia’s richest national Open in 2005 and 2006 before falling short of his hat-trick bid when he finished third last year.

Scott knows he needs to produce his best golf to prevail. “It’s been a happy hunting ground for me here. Whenever you come back to a place where you’ve played well, you get good vibes. I’m certainly looking to turn my game around a little bit and it’s good to have the positive feelings.”

Scott has won tournaments in Qatar and the US earlier this year but a series of injuries and illness have blighted his past few months and his world ranking has slipped to 17th from seventh.

But with a chance to become the first man to win three Barclays Singapore Open titles, Scott wants to end his year on a high note at a venue which feels like his second home.

“I was a bit rusty but I was happy with finishing sixth. It’s the first time in a while where I put some consistent numbers on the board,” said Scott.

Choi, a graduate of the Asian Tour, was delighted to be a part of the Tour’s showpiece event at Sentosa and hopes to put up a strong challenge to underline his status as one of the world’s finest players.

An early season win at the Sony Open in Hawaii, his seventh PGA Tour win, has failed to translate into more victories for Choi. But Choi feels he has a chance to win the title.

“All parts of your game need to work well here. I have to play my A-game to win. I haven’t won on the Asian Tour outside of Korea. It will look good on my resume to win,” he said.

Singapore’s hopes of producing its first local winner will rest on the experienced Mardan Mamat, a two-time winner on the Asian Tour.

“The crowds always want the local players to play well. I always tell myself that I can always win again. I’ve won twice already and once you’ve broken the jinx, you can do it again. I’m not pressuring myself so much. If I can finish in the top-10, I’ll be happy,” he said.

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