Thursday, September 21, 2017

World number one Spieth ready to take on Singapore Open

World number one Jordan Spieth is gunning for nothing less than winning the SMBC Singapore Open when the tournament tees off tomorrow, but could face tough a challenge from some of Asia’s best.

The American put aside earlier complaints of exhaustion after a T-5 finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on January 24 and said he will be fit and ready for the event at the Sentosa Golf Club’s Serapong Course.

Spieth is in the city-state for his seventh overseas tournament in nearly four months, but barely 24 hours after his arrival the 22-year-old said he has not reached the point of slowing down.

“There was certainly fatigue at the end of Sunday at Abu Dhabi, and all it takes is a couple days of rest and I am back,” said the 2015 US Open and Masters champion.

“I was very pleased with my form there last week, but I just didn’t make anything out of it and that happens,” he told reporters.

Spieth said he was let down by his usually reliable short game that left him five strokes behind compatriot and eventual winner Rickie Fowler.

All he needs is to refresh and work on his putters before taking on the Singapore Open, which returns after a three-year hiatus under a new sponsor, Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and is the lead-in tournament on the Asian Tour to the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open starting on February 4.

“I am easy. I just need a couple days of rest because I am always excited for a tournament round and never once teed up where I felt I wanted the round to end. I have always been extremely excited about the next hole, the next opportunity to make birdie,” he said.

“I love to play golf. It is just what I love to do. My body has been tired before, so there is no problem picking myself up for this week.”

Singapore’s heat and humidity are unlikely to bother Spieth as the climate is similar to that of his home state of Texas in the summer, but he said the windy conditions might affect his play.

The course is also tricky, Spieth said, and he has very little time to soak in all the information.

“Looking at the yardage book,” he said, “there is a lot of trouble, a lot of water hazards and really, really long par fours. The greens are massive, so I am going to go out there and work on my speed control to make sure I won’t be three-putting. But the goal is to win this week.”

But victory is not a foregone conclusion for Spieth.

India’s Jeev Milkha Singh, the 2008 Singapore Open winner and now ranked 876th, said more Asian players are winning on golf’s biggest stage and believes a few of them are capable of putting up a challenge.

An Asian has not won the tournament since Singh’s feat eight years ago.

The tournament is offering a minimum prize purse of US$1million.

It was formerly one of Asia’s richest with a $6million purse when last held in November 2012. The tournament was cancelled in 2013 after British bank Barclays chose not to renew its sponsorship.

– AFP

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