Photos from Asian Tour
BOTH AIMS TO JUMP START SEASON AT AIR BAGAN MYANMAR OPEN
Australia’s Marcus Both believes he is hitting top form at the right time to challenge for the Air Bagan Myanmar Open presented by IBTC next week.
Both, who ended last season on a high note when he claimed a second Asian Tour victory at the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open, will shoot for glory at the Pun Hlaing Golf Club in the US$300,000 full field event.
He will be joined by compatriot and current Asian Tour’s Order of Merit leader Andrew Dodt, New Zealand’s Mark Purser, Japanese star Tetsuji Hiratsuka, Thai veteran Boonchu Ruangkit, Gaganjeet Bhullar of India and Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang.
Both was one of the most consistent performers last season where he chalked up four top-10s along with his Cambodian success. But this year, he has yet to shift out of first gear but is confident of turning the corner in Myanmar, known as the Golden Land.
“I made a couple of changes before the Asian Tour International (in Thailand) and unfortunately, the harder I practiced, the worst I got. I haven’t had the chance to put the numbers on the board but I’ll keep working at it and see how things go,” said the 30-year-old.
Both, rated highly during his amateur days, has improved tremendously throughout the years under the guidance of Adam Fraser, a former Asian Tour regular, and he is looking forward to bouncing back from three missed cuts early in the season.
“It feels like my game is starting to come back. My ball flight is straighter and I have to set my mind on focusing better. My victory is in the past and I have to set my mindset on playing as well as I possible can,” added the Australian, who finished seventh on the Order of Merit last season.
Playing in his second year on the Asian Tour, Purser is hoping to sparkle in Yangon after ironing out some kinks in his game.
“I compared a video of my recent performance and found some problems in my swing. That helped and it feels great to be back in form,” said Purser, whose father was the badminton doubles bronze medallist at the 1978 Edmonton Commonwealth Games.
Hiratsuka, a five-time winner in Japan, will also be in the mix in the Myanmar Open, which is making a welcome return onto the Asian Tour after a four-year lapse.
He will be banking on his rich vein of form after finishing thirds in the Asian Tour International in Thailand and Avantha Masters in India. Hiratsuka is currently sixth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
Other top names competing in Myanmar include Thai duo Thaworn Wiratchant and Chapchai Nirat, who holds the world scoring record for 72 holes, Chinese Taipei’s Chan Yih-shin, India’s C. Muniyappa, Australian Scott Hend, Singaporean Mardan Mamat and Filipino Juvic Pagunsan.