Shiv Kapur (Inset) and Paul Casey of England at the driving range ahead of the Pro-am event before of The SMBC Singapore Open on the Serapong Course, Sentosa Golf Club. Pics by Paul Lakatos/ SPORTFIVE / Asian Tour
Singapore, Jan 19: A dozen Indians made up of veterans, experienced and young professionals will tee up at this week’s SMBC Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club. Two of them, Jyoti Randhawa (2000) and Jeev Milkha Singh (2006) have won the title in the past, but are now approaching the Seniors (50 years and over) Category in their illustrious category.
While both Randhawa and Jeev would love another shot at one of the best known National Opens in the region, a whole host of other Indian hopefuls would love a crack at the crown and carry on that legacy.
Apart from the two veterans, the Indians in the field this week include Shiv Kapur, SSP Chawrasia, Rashid Khan, Viraj Madappa, Khalin Joshi, S Chikkarangappa, Aman Raj, Karandeep Kochhar, Abhijit Chadha and Veer Ahlawat.
An added incentive for the players this week is that four spots are on offer for the 150th Open at St. Andrews this year. In this field the only player who is already into the Open field is Paul Casey, who is a marquee player this week.
“Singapore has always been a favourite spot for me,” said Kapur, who has played here numerous times in his career, first as an amateur and as a pro. “The Serapong is a tough course and I love it because it makes you think.”
Chawrasia, who had to miss last week’s Singapore International due to Covid back in India, returns to action. “I am fine now and looking forward to getting some action on the Asian Tour, which will now have a strong schedule this year.” Chawrasia is a six-time winner on the Asian Tour.
The two big stars Jeev and Randhawa, apart, five other Indians in this field have tasted success on the Asian Tour – Shiv Kapur, SSP Chawrasia, Rashid Khan, Viraj Madappa and Khalin Joshi, while S Chikkarangappa has won twice on the Asian Development Tour, the second run Tour in Asia.
Aman Raj, Kochhar, Chadha and Ahlawat have all shown enough potential to win an Asian Tour event and have come close to it before. They will look to tackle the challenging Serapong Course and make a bid for their maiden success on the Tour.
There is a lot to look forward to for the locals, too, as a record number of 20 Singaporeans will compete in the US$1.25 million event. The best known Singaporean pro Mardan Mamat, a five-time winner on the Asian Tour, is also competing in the field.
The tournament, which for the first time in its history is the season-ending event on the Asian Tour, tees-off tomorrow on the Serapong Course.