BHULLAR AND PARIYA PLAN ALL OUT ATTACK AT ISPS HANDA SINGAPORE CLASSIC
Singapore: Asia’s talented maestros Gaganjeet Bhullar of India and Thailand’s Pariya Junhasavasdikul will be on attack mode as they vie for top honours at the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic next month.
The duo, who finished in the top-10 of last year’s inaugural edition, believe aggressive play will be rewarded with low scores at the Orchid Country Club from September 8 to 11.
A strong cast of Asian Tour stars including Lin Wen-tang of Chinese Taipei, a five-time Asian Tour winner, in-form Siddikur of Bangladesh, currently second on the Order of Merit and new Asian Tour winner Anirban Lahiri of India will also make their way to the US$300,000 tournament.
Last year, Peter Karmis of South Africa won the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic with an impressive 21-under-par 267 total. His two-day score of 18-under-par 126 would have been the second lowest in the history of the Asian Tour if not for the preferred lie ruling.
Pariya, who placed third in the event last season before going on to win his maiden Asian Tour title at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters, said he expects another low scoring week at the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic.
“The golf course was in great condition last year. The greens were rolling great and it isn’t a long golf course. It will be an open shoot-out again this year and it is definitely more fun than hacking it around and trying to get even par rounds,” said Pariya.
Pariya, a licensed pilot, has two top-10s under his belt this season but admits he needs to shift into fifth gear to ignite his bid for a second Asian Tour victory at the Orchid Country Club.
“This year is going to be a lot easier compared to last year because I’ve got a two-year exemption from my win in Taipei. But I guess I need that sense of urgency and start playing good again,” said the 27-year-old.
Bhullar won three consecutive titles in the subcontinent earlier this year but has struggled to emulate his previous years’ performances where he won one title on the Asian Tour in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
Like Pariya, Bhullar is eager to return to the Orchid Country Club where he finished in tied eighth position last year.
“Normally we don’t get courses on the Asian Tour where you can make a lot of birdies. The Orchid Country Club is more rewarding for long hitters and I really enjoyed myself with the drives last season,” said Bhullar.
Bhullar is regarded as being in the new generation of golfers to emerge from India and he admits the challenge of playing on the Asian Tour has gone up a few notches with the vast pool of talent aiming to carve a successful career on the region’s elite Tour.
“On the Asian Tour, no matter what type of courses, you have to make lots of birdies. The standard of golf has improved a lot. Now you have to shoot in the mid 60s to win a tournament comfortably,” said the 23-year-old.
“It’s not getting easier to win on Tour. Players perform so well throughout the season. I played with Peter (Karmis) in the last group last year. I was three shots off after two rounds and he was unbeatable that week. All the guys are working hard and if something clicks on that particular event, it’ll be his week,” he added.
The ISPS Handa Singapore Classic will be beamed live on the Asian Tour’s television platform of over 200 nations and 800 million homes during the weekend rounds.
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