New Delhi: Japanese ace Daisuke Maruyama will be determined to shine in his debut appearance at the SAIL Open in India next week.
Maruyama, a two-time Asian Tour champion, will be joined by countrymen Kenichi Kuboya, a four-time winner in Japan, and Kodai Ichihara at the Delhi Golf Club from March 22 to 25 (Tuesday to Friday).
Big-hitting Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Lam Chih Bing of Singapore and Marcus Both of Australia will also feature in the elite field at the US$300,000 event co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGTI.
Since 2004, no Japanese has won on Indian soil and Maruyama will be aiming to end the jinx. He has only played once in India in the past two years where he finished 45th at the Avantha Masters last month.
Maruyama, who enjoyed a stint on the US PGA Tour, burst onto the Asian scene in superb fashion by winning the 2009 Qualifying School in Thailand. He subsequently ended a four-year title drought with a victory at the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open on home soil.
He was also a member of the Asian Tour in 2000 where he won his first title in Taipei before turning his attention to the PGA Tour where he produced a top-three and four top-10 finishes in 2006, followed by one top-10 in 2007.
Thailand’s rising star Kiradech was unlucky to not win his first Asian Tour title last season after battling into contention on four occasions. However, he feels his time will soon come for a maiden Asian Tour victory.
“I always lose on the last day, I don’t know why. But I have to keep going. The day will come when I will finally win,” said the 21-year-old.
Australian Both, a two-time winner in Asia, will be making an anticipated return to the challenging Delhi Golf Club where he placed tied ninth last season.
He struggled early last season but came to life in the last three events of the year when he ended the season with three straight top-10s.
Danny Chia, the first Malaysian to play in all four rounds of the British Open last season, Ben Fox of the United States, Korea’s Lee Sung, a winner on the Asian Tour and veteran Lu Wen-teh of Chinese Taipei will also feature in the SAIL Open.
Photo - Asian Tour
Asian Tour GolfGreedy.com