SINGH SEEKS HAPPY HOMECOMING TO BARCLAYS SINGAPORE OPEN
Singapore: Asian Tour honorary member Jeev Milkha Singh of India hopes to overcome his injury woes with a second victory at the Barclays Singapore Open starting on Thursday.
Singh, who has been struggling with a shoulder injury this year, will be relishing a return to the Sentosa Golf Club where he won in 2008.
He will face strong challenges from compatriot Arjun Atwal, the first Indian to win on the US PGA Tour, four-time Major winner Phil Mickelson of the United States, Italian Francesco Molinari, who won in Shanghai last week and current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Noh Seung-yul of Korea at the US$6 million event co sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
Singh, a two-time Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, suffered an injury to his rotator cuff earlier in the year and admits the injury hasn’t fully recovered.
“The injury is not 100% cured. I’m still on painkillers and got another four weeks left of playing competitively. I’ll take six weeks off after that and take time to recover,” said Singh, a six-time winner in Asia.
“I kept playing with the injury and that’s the worst thing to do and the other mistake was that I came back too early. It became much better by August but things kept coming up and sometimes there’s a lot of pain but it is just a hit-and-run case,” added Singh.
He rates his victory at the Barclays Singapore Open two years ago as one of his biggest victories in his career and he will be eager to return into the winner’s circle.
“It was a great win and I feel it was one of my biggest wins. It was a strong field and the golf course was very challenging. Obviously you get the positive vibes again. I love the golf course and Singapore is a great country so hopefully I’ll have a good tournament again,” said the 38-year-old.
Singh welcomed a newborn baby boy in January and he will draw inspiration from the presence of his wife and son, who are in Singapore this week.
“This is the first trip my family is up with me. I think it is great because it gets quite lonely on the road. It is really tough to juggle between my career and my family. I admire people with two or three kids. I haven’t been getting enough sleep!” added the Indian, who finished in tied 14th place in Europe at the end of last month.
A former Asian Tour number one and the region’s first million-dollar man, Atwal is riding a rich vein of form, having won the Wyndham Championship in August. He missed only two cuts on the US PGA Tour this season, one of which was the U.S. Open.
“I have been playing well this year. I missed only two cuts and was in contention a few times with two top-10s (US PGA Tour). I have a couple of technical issues which I have to sort out like my swing alignments but I’ll get that sorted out by tomorrow,” said the 2003 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion.
Local hope Mardan Mamat will fly the Singapore flag as he aims to continue his mantra of staying patient.
“I have to maintain what I have been doing in the past few weeks which is keeping patient and playing one shot at a time,” said Mardan, who has three top-five finishes on the Asian Tour this season.
Mardan, seventh on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, is aware of the pressure of playing on home soil but has learned to cope with the anxiety.
“It is nice to play at home where you can sleep on your own bed but there is always pressure playing on home soil. I have been playing in the Singapore Open for many years and I’m beginning to cope with the pressure,” said the 43-year-old.
“Hopefully I can play well especially with the form I’m in. It will be nice to have a good finish in your own National Open,” he added.
For the first time, a field of 204 players will compete at the Barclays Singapore Open on both The Serapong and The Tanjong courses.
Asian Tour GolfGreedy.com