23rd April 2019 | Asian Tour

OWGR Watch – Week 17

With lucrative events such as WGCs and Majors looming, the Official World Golf Rankings becomes all important. Here we follow the Asian Tour players that are making a charge up the rankings and their quest to play their way into these events via the OWGR.

Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, currently ranked number 42 on the OWGR, is already eligible for all the above events.

 

By Olle Nordberg, Former Asian Tour and European Tour professional

 

While there was no Asian Tour event last week, four of our members recorded wins on other Tours and picked up valuable points and improving their OWGR rankings: Chikkarangappa S. on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) improving his ranking to 274 from 312, Danthai Boonma on the Japan Challenge Tour moving to number 281 from 358, Maverick Antcliff on the China Tour going to 354 from 487, and Richard T. Lee on the Korean PGA rising to 499 from 1014.

Justin Harding of South Africa

For the players battling to secure tickets to the upcoming Majors, there was not as much movement in the rankings:

  • Justin Harding (RSA)

Harding missed the cut at the RBC Heritage on the PGA TOUR and drops one spot  to number 45, but still has an excellent chance to secure an exemption to the U.S. Open which will be played at the Pebble Beach Golf Links in California from June 13-16. He needs to remain inside the top 60 on the OWGR by either May 20 or June 10, which are the cut-off dates for the exemptions.

Harding will be playing in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans this week, partnering with fellow South African Branden Grace in the $7.3 million two-man team event.

  • Jazz Janewattananond (THA)

Jazz narrowly missed the cut by one shot in the Token Homemate Cup on the Japan Golf Tour (JGTO) last week. He would slide  down three spots in the rankings to 74. He looks to have secured a special invitation to the US PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in New York May 16-19 by being inside the top 100 on the OWGR till May 5.

The next important step on the OWGR for him will be breaking into the top 60 by either May 20 or June 10, for an exemption into the U.S. Open.

  • Kurt Kitayama (USA)

Kitayama did not play last week and slips three places in the rankings to number 109. His immediate challenge is to break into the top 100 and get a chance for a start in the US PGA Championship.

He will be playing in the Tropee Hassan II this week in Morocco and Volvo China Open next week, and need to make up nine places between now and the cut-off date May 5.

 

*Trophy shot of Danthai: Photo credits to Japan Golf Tour


15th April 2019 | Asian Tour

Woods keeps date with history

By V. Krishnaswamy

Swamy is one of India’s leading sports writers, who has covered over 20 Majors and 250 international golf tournaments.

Augusta, April 15: Tiger Woods scripted one of the finest comeback stories in sport as he ended an 11-year drought of golf Majors with a sensational win at the 83rd Masters. Time and again through the afternoon he had to keep his emotions in check. First it was on the golf course as he came to the 18th with a two-shot lead, and then as he made his way past the fans after the final putt. Then amidst cheers from fans, Woods, his eyes moist, hugged his children, son Charlie, daughter Sam, mother Kutilda; girlfriend, Erica Herman and others.

The Augusta National had brought forward the tee times and even made it threesomes from both tees. In the end, even the weather Gods chose to stay away lest they spoil the celebrations, where superlatives describing Woods’ effort and performance seemed to have run out.

It was Woods’ fifth Green Jacket and it came 14 years after the fourth one in 2005; it was the 15th Major, coming 11 years after 14th at the US Open in 2008; and it was also his 81st PGA Tour win, coming six months after his 80th at the Tour Championships. He was now one Green Jacket away from Jack Nicklaus; three Majors shy of Nicklaus’ 18 and one PGA Tour win away from Sam Snead’s 82.

The comeback, which began at the Hero World Challenge in December 2017 was now complete. Step by step he scaled the peak to win a Major. The next peak can only be No. 1 in the world and Nicklaus’s record of 18 Majors.

Woods gets going on back nine

Starting the day two behind Molinari, Woods did not really get going till the back nine. It was not till the 15th that Woods got sole possession of the lead and once he did, the amazing front-runner he is, he did not let go.

Molinari’s second trip to the water this time on the 15th, and the resultant double bogey was the final game changer as Woods birdied it for a three-shot swing.

Despite an earlier double bogey on the 12th at the Amen Corner, which dropped him from 13-under to 11-under, Molinari came back to 12-under with a birdie on 13th. He was still in the equation as was Xander Schauffele, who rose to 12-under-par with birdies on 13th and 14th.

After the three-foot birdie on 15th, Woods rose further to 14-under-par with a birdie on 16th, where he hit his tee shot to within four feet of the cup. On 17th he missed a nine-footer for birdie and then on 18th, he missed a 14-footer for par. In the end, neither mattered and he was through for a historic win.

He just needed a tap-in for bogey to card 70 and total 13-under-par, which was one shot better than Dustin Johnson (68), Xander Schauffele (68) and Brooks Koepka (70).

Molinari finished tied-sixth at 11-under-par in the company of Webb Simpson, Jason Day, and Tony Finau, who were all Tied-sixth.

Woods overcome by emotions

Over the past few years, the series of surgeries, four in all, had even raised doubts, whether Woods would even be able to play the game at all, let alone win. Slowly but steadily, he found his way back. First to survive a full round walking; then a full week without tiring out; and then contending before finally winning at East Lake. He also contended at the Open in July, where Francesco Molinari won, and then at the PGA where Brooks Koepka pushed him to second.

Despite all the emotions, Woods cracked a quip as Patrick Reed slipped the jacket over his shoulders, saying, “It fits.”

Now with Masters in the bag, he sets out for the US PGA Championship at Bethpage Black and the US Open at Pebble Beach, where Woods he had success before. The 18 does not look too far now.

“To win again here is overwhelming just because of what has transpired over the last couple of years. It’s unreal,” admitted Woods as he won his first major after coming from behind on the final day.

“This tournament has meant so much to me over the years, coming here in ’95 for the first time as amateur; winning in ’97, and then coming full circle, 22 years later, to do it again.

“There were so many different scenarios that could have transpired on that back nine. There were so many guys that had a chance to win. The leaderboard was absolutely packed and everyone was playing well. You couldn’t have had more drama than we all had out there, and now I know why I’m balding. This stuff is hard.”

“This tournament has meant so much to me and my family, and to have everyone here, it’s something I’ll never, ever forget,” he said. “My dad (Earl) shouldn’t have come in ’97. I mean, he had heart complications, and wasn’t supposed to fly, but he flew and came. Gave me a putting lesson on Wednesday night, and the rest is history.

“My dad’s no longer here, but my mom’s here, 22 years later, and I happen to win the 
tournament; and then to have both Sam and Charlie here, they were there at the British Open last year when I had the lead on that back nine, and I made a few mistakes, cost myself a chance to win the Open title.

“I wasn’t going to let that happen to them twice, and so for them to see what it’s like to have their dad win a major championship, I hope that’s something they will never forget.”

Neither will all those who were at Augusta National on Sunday, April 14, 2019. It was an “I-was-there” moment.


10th April 2019 | Asian Tour

Remembering Arie

*By Calvin Koh, Head of Press operations and Media partnerships for the Asian Tour.

What defines a great man?

He is honest, humble, generous, polite, friendly and sincere.

These traits might not be exhaustive but it describes Arie Irawan, who is one of Malaysia’s brightest talents in golf.

In life, Arie was an incredibly popular player who gave the people around him so much joy and happiness.

But sadly, it was also a life that was quickly taken away from him when he was only 28.

The golfing community was spun into a state of shock and disbelief one early Sunday morning when they learnt Arie was found unresponsive in his hotel room with early indications of his death pointing towards natural causes.

The world has lost a good man.

Arie was a ‘bro’ to many, a cheerleader, a trustworthy friend who was well-liked by fellow players and staff.

A consummate professional, he was a role model for many and a true champion, who always competed with grit and gratitude.

He just wanted to ‘play good golf as always and that’s the only thing that matters’ to him.

I had the privilege of interviewing Arie on numerous occasions on Tour and never once was I ever left in doubt he was a perfect gentleman, on and off the golf course.

Arie’s sudden passing has left a huge void in the lives of many and the numerous tributes that followed just showed the imprints he left in the hearts and minds of the people who know him.

Golf, as in life, is never so scripted. If so, we would have penned a beautiful ending.

We know death will happen one day but yet when it does come somehow, it often leaves us in an emotional state of loss.

In Arie, he’s gone but not forgotten.

He has left a lasting impression in the lives of everyone he touched and we will always remember how great a man he was.

Ends.


9th April 2019 | Asian Tour

Tour Insider: Masters Edition

By Olle Nordberg, Former Asian Tour and European Tour professional 

The Masters week is finally here!

This week’s edition of Tour Insider will be different from the past few weeks, as this is the week that golf fans and tour players alike have been looking forward to for quite some time.

The iconic Masters Tournament at Augusta National is definitely one of a kind in golf.

The season opener when it comes to Major Championship golf, and together with The Open, these are the Majors that all Tour players have been dreaming about winning since they embarked on their professional careers.

In some cases, maybe even that’s the reason why they got into golf from the beginning, watching The Masters on TV in the spring and being inspired to spend countless hours practicing and imagining having a putt on 18 to wear the famous Green Jacket.

I know I did, and so did most of my junior golf friends growing up.

One thing that makes the Masters Tournament so special among Majors is the fact that it has always been held at the same course since inception in 1934, the players, patrons (no spectators at Augusta!) and regular TV viewers are all very familiar with the course layout. Or in any case, from hole nine onwards, where the traditional television starts.

It is one of the few events that regular golfers and professionals will watch in the middle of the night if on another time-zone. Either staying up late or getting up very early to catch the leaders going through Amen Corner, hole 11 through 13, and challenging the scorable but treacherous “second nine” as they call it at Augusta National.

There have been many famous charges on the final nine holes at Augusta on Sunday afternoons, but maybe none more so than Jack Nicklaus’ six-under-par 30 to don the Green jacket at age 46 in 1986, dashing Greg Norman and Tom Kite’s title hopes in the process.

The second nine at Augusta on Sunday afternoon is definitely one of the highlights on the golfing calendar for any serious golfer, and where history is made by the players battling it out for the victory.

This year, we have the fortune of having two Asian Tour players compete in their first Major of the year – Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Justin Harding of South Africa.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

Kiradech qualified by virtue of being inside the top-50 on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) in the end of 2018. He has played the Masters Tournament twice previously in 2016 and 2018. His best result coming in his first appearance when he finished tied-15th. It was a very creditable result for a first-timer, especially on a course where experience is a huge factor and approach precision and strategy is of utmost importance.

In 2018 he also made the cut and finished tied-44th after a rough start with 79 in the first round, and scores of 70, 72 and 71 the last three days.

Kiradech’s record in big events has improved steadily as proven by his world-class play in Majors and World Golf Championships (WGC)  the last two years: three top-fives in his last six WGC starts, and a 15th place in last year’s U.S. Open Championship.

No Asian player has won the Masters tournament in its 85-year history. Kiradech does not lack the talent and game to compete with the best players in the world. He could potentially be a dark horse, poised to be the first ever Asian player to win at Augusta National and Thailand’s first Major Championship winner.

Justin Harding

Harding received his invitation by being in the current OWGR top 50 after the WGC-Dell Matchplay and cemented that position by beating Matthew Fitzpatrick and Luke List in the group stage matches. He was perilously ranked number 49 going into the week and those two wins were crucial in order to guarantee a place inside the top-50 at the March 31

He has played some fantastic golf the last 15 months in his rise in the rankings, chalking up five combined wins on the Asian Tour, Sunshine Tour and European Tour: Bank BRI Indonesia Open, Royal Cup, Investec Royal Swazi Open, Lombard Insurance Classic in 2018 and the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters this year.

Harding’s Major Championship experience is limited to the 2013 Open Championship and the 2018 U.S. PGA Championship, and will be making his rookie Masters appearance this week.

Could Harding continue to ride his wave of hot form, and rewrite the history books with a rookie win at Augusta this Sunday afternoon?

Justin Harding of South Africa

The odds are stacked against a first-timer winning at Augusta National. It has happened three times in the past, but you must go all the way back to 1979 to find the most recent one, Fuzzy Zoeller who beat Tom Watson and Ed Sneed in a play-off. The only other two players who have done so on their first try was Horton Smith at the inaugural event in 1934 and Gene Sarazen the following year in 1935.

Jordan Speith came close in 2014 by finishing tied-second to Bubba Watson, before setting the 36-, 54- and 72-hole scoring records in his 2015 win.

Whoever wins this Sunday afternoon, it promises to be an exciting week ahead as we follow two of our Asian Tour stars, battling it out with the best players in the world for the Green Jacket and Masters Tournament trophy.


| Asian Tour

OWGR Watch: Week of The Masters Tournament

With lucrative events such as World Golf Championships (WGC) and Majors looming, the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) becomes all important. Here we follow the Asian Tour players that are making a charge up the rankings and their quest to play their way into these events via the OWGR.

Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, currently ranked number 42 on the OWGR, is already eligible for all the above events.

 

By Olle Nordberg, Former Asian Tour and European Tour professional. 

 

Last week’s winner of the Bangabandhu Cup Open Golf in Bangladesh, Sadom Kaewkanjana took home 14 OWGR points and rose to number 287 from 628 the previous week. He started the year ranked number 1,350 and has gained over 1,000 spots in a just over three months, a very impressive start to his professional career.

Sadom Kaewkanjana of Thailand

Other Asian Tour players who we are following closely when it comes to qualifying for the upcoming Majors and WGC events via the OWGR:

  • Jazz Janewattananond (THA)

Having another solid event and top-five finish in Dhaka last week by placing tied-fifth, Jazz moves up to another career high ranking once again and lands at number 70 this week. Continuing his ascent up the OWGR and looks to have solidified his chances for a special invitation to the US PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in New York May 16-19.

The next important step on the OWGR for him will be breaking into the top-60 by either May 20 or June 10, which are the cut-off dates for exemptions into the US Open Championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California June 13-16.

  • Justin Harding (RSA)

Harding played the Valero Texas Open last week in San Antonio, Texas, but missed the cut after rounds of 73 and75 and slides down one place on the list to number 49.

Playing in the Masters Tournament this week, he will have an opportunity to make big gains with a high finish in the star-studded field, thereby improving his chances for an exemption into the upcoming US Open.

  • Kurt Kitayama (USA)

Kitayama did not play last week and slips to number 107. His immediate challenge is breaking into the top-100 and a chance for a start in the US PGA Championship.

Depending on his playing schedule, there are only two events between now and the cut-off date of May 5 on the Asian Tour and European Tour where he can make up ground , Trophee Hassan II in Morocco and GS Caltex Maekyung Open/Volvo China Open (played same week) in Seoul/Shenzhen.


| Asian Tour

Winner’s Bag: 2019 Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open

April 9: Here’s what Sadom Kaewkanjana had in his bag when he won the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open.

Driver: Titleist TS3 8.5*                                      Shaft: Mitsubishi-Chemical Kuro Kage XT 60 X

HB1: Titleist 818H2 19*                                       Shaft: Mitsubishi-Chemical Tensei CK Pro White 90 X

Irons: Titleist AP2 718 (4-P)                                 Shaft: Precision Project X 6.0

Wedge1: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 50* F Grind

Wedge2: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 54* M Grind

Wedge3: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 58* L Grind

Putter: Odyssey Versa 7 WBW

Ball: Titleist Pro V1 x (2019)

Shoe: FootJoy

Cap: Titleist

Bag: Titleist

Glove: Titleist

 

Note: 2 Iron Titleist T-MB 718 w/ Mitsubishi-Chemical Diamana Thump 90 X.

No 3 Iron


3rd April 2019 | Asian Tour

Sunday pressure

By Calvin Koh, Head of Press Operations and Media Partnerships

Everyone wants to be in their Sunday best.

After all, it’s a day where the scent of glory beckons for the genuine contenders.

18 holes are usually what sets apart the contenders and pretenders on pressure Sunday.

The room for error has shrunk and there’s always drama that lies ahead when the first tee shot is hit.

A sparkling run of birdies, several bogeys to mar the card from nowhere, the ball finds the water. Anything can happen.

Pressure does not care about form and can be very cruel.

Mention it to the likes of Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung, Brazil’s Adilson Da Silva and India’s Khalin Joshi and they can tell you how tough it can be to calm those nerves on a Sunday.

The trembles in their fingers when faced with a three-foot putt to win and complete the job in front of the staring television cameras.

A victory would mean the world to all of them, having seen victory just slipped by their grasp on numerous occasions before they finally made peace with pressure and win.

As Fung once said before his breakthrough at the Queen’s Cup: “I’ve been too nervous going into the final day whenever I’m in contention. Thinking too much and wanting it too badly But I’ve learnt how to deal with it now.”

When the going gets tough, it comes down to a constant word that they usually recite quietly in their minds- Focus.

Da Silva knew how important it was for him to ‘stay patient and play one shot at a time’ before he lifted his maiden title at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters, eight long years after he first played on the Asian Tour.

He was not suffocated by the crowded leaderboard where the top players were only separated by a single shot then.

Every single one of them, like Da Silva, would be thinking it was going to be their day.

But there was only one trophy on Sunday and that was the only one where the Brazilian would finally lay his hands on at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club after telling himself ‘not to worry about other people’s scores and just focus shot by shot’.

Every player cannot escape the truth of the leaderboard. The scores don’t lie and etching their names against the numbers at the pinnacle is always key.

Despite having played numerous tournaments at the Delhi Golf Club since his junior days, Joshi has never tasted success there.

Having the opportunity to stake his claim again, Joshi said: “I’m playing well and it’s just a matter of time.”

Self-belief usually gives a golfing Sunday new meaning.

The Indian had something to prove and his words would eventually prove prophetic

“You know it was just believing in myself and playing aggressive golf,” said Joshi.

And his time finally came on that fateful day at the Delhi Golf Club on a Sunday.

Ends.


2nd April 2019 | Asian Tour

Winner’s bag – 2019 Hero Indian Open

Here’s what Stephen Gallacher had in his bag when he won the 2019 Hero Indian Open.

 

Driver: Titleist TS3 8.5*                                      Shaft: Mitsubishi-Chemical Tensei CK Pro White 70 TX

Fairway1: Titleist TS2 15*                                   Shaft: Mitsubishi-Chemical Tensei CK Pro White 70 TX

Fairway2: Titleist TS2 18*                                   Shaft: Mitsubishi-Chemical Tensei CK Pro White 70 TX

Irons: Titleist AP2 718 (4-P)                                Shaft: TrueTemper Dynamic Gold X100

Wedge1: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 52* F-Grind

Wedge2: Titleist Vokey Design PROTO 60* K-Grind

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron TSB

Ball: Titleist Pro V1 x (2017) Left Dash

Shoe: FootJoy

Cap: Titleist

Bag: Titleist

Glove: FootJoy

 

Note: 3 Iron Titleist T-MB 718

 


| Asian Tour

Tour Insider: Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open

Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 2: Olle Nordberg provides his insights from the front lines ahead of the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open which starts on Wednesday.

By Olle Nordberg, Former Asian Tour and European Tour professional 

The Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open has been held at the Kurmitola Golf Club since 2015 and has been the stage of breakthrough victories for Thitiphun Chuayprakong, Jazz Janewattananond and Malcolm Kokocinski in the last three editions of the event.

Last year Malcolm Kokocinski fired a final round six-under-par 65 to beat Ben Campbell and Jack Harrison by three shots, and his record on this course last year was nothing short of spectacular.

In the two Asian Development Tour events held at Kurmitola GC earlier in the year, he finished second at the City Bank Amex Dhaka Open in January and tied-third at the BTI Open in April.

The previous year Jazz won this trophy in his first event back after losing his Asian Tour card in the end of 2016, securing his playing rights as a tournament winner for the rest of the season.

The players most likely to contend for the win or a top finish this week, based on current form or past record at Kurmitola Golf Club, could well be among the ones listed below:

  • Jazz Janewattananond (THA)

Past champion and in second place on the Habitat for Humanity Standings, he is also the highest ranked player in the field at number 73 on the OWGR ranking list.

Jazz has had a great start to the year with a win at the SMBC Singapore Open, a third at the Maybank Championship and a fourth at the 100th New Zealand Open.

Needs no further introductions and reasons why he is likely to be a top challenger for the trophy.

  • Malcolm Kokocinski (SWE)

With his playing record mentioned above at Kurmitola last year it would not be surprising to see the Hua Hin based Swede in contention again on Sunday afternoon.

Kokocinski has struggled a bit in his last few events, but the return to Bangladesh could provide the defending champion a good chance to turn his fortunes around.

  • Siddikur Rahman (BAN)

The local hero and number one golfer from Bangladesh, Rahman finished runner-up in his national Open to Jazz in 2017 and would dearly like to do one better this year.

He won the City Bank Amex Dhaka Open at Kurmitola last year on the ADT by beating Kokocinski by four shots and was tied-sixth at the BTI Open a few months later.

Local knowledge may also be an important advantage this week. Since this is his home course he will know exactly where to place the ball off the tees and how to read the greens.

The event has not seen a Bangladeshi player win the event previously and Siddikur is the top candidate to change that fact.

  • Rashid Khan (IND)

Has had a good start to his 2019 campaign and playing very well lately. Khan was in a tie for 10th place in Delhi last week on the difficult DLF Gary Player course, and already has a win and a tied-third place under his belt so far this year on the Indian PGTI circuit.

Will be looking for a chance to get his Asian Tour card back with a win this week.

Going through the statistics records from the last two editions of this event, an important factor has been top finishers GIR performance. If history is of any guide this week, these players with a recent solid performance in the GIR statistic may well be contending for the title on Sunday.

  • Doyeob Mun (KOR)

The winner of the 61st Korean PGA Championship last season, Mun is already a proven winner and a very good all-round player.

He also has one of the best GIR records on the Asian Tour and was placed 14th in 2018 with 71%. Currently ranked fourth in 2019 with 79.2% having played one event.

It would not be surprising to see him as an Asian Tour winner before the end of the year.

  • Soomin Lee (KOR)

After having played the last few seasons mostly on the European Tour, Lee is now back on the Asian Tour where he made his debut in 2015.

His GIR stats are among the better on the Asian Tour, he was ranked ninth in 2018 with 71.7% GIR and is as of this week 13th in 2019 with 75% after one event played.

Having won once on the European Tour in 2016, the Shenzhen International, and twice previously on the KPGA Tour, he will be looking to add another title to his resume this week.


27th March 2019 | Asian Tour

Tour Insider: Hero Indian Open

New Delhi, India, March 27: Olle Nordberg provides his insights from the front lines ahead of the Hero Indian Open which enters its 55th edition this week.

By Olle Nordberg, Former Asian Tour and European Tour professional 

The Hero Indian Open has been played at the DLF Golf and Country Club’s Gary player course in Delhi for the last two years, and it has proven to be a real challenge for the best players in the region and from Europe. In 2018 only 15 players finished the event under par, and in 2017 only seven players managed to end up in red numbers on Sunday afternoon.

The 2018 edition saw Matt Wallace capturing the trophy by beating Andrew Johnston in a play-off on the first extra hole after an 11-under-par total of 277. It was the first of his three European Tour victories last year, a season in which he finished a career best 10th on the Race to Dubai.

The previous year S.S.P Chawrasia cruised to a seven-shot win over nearest challenger Gavin Green of Malaysia, as he defended the title he had won at Delhi Golf Club in 2016. He also became only the third player in history to successfully defend this national open, with a winning score of 10-under-par 288.

Last year’s champion Wallace is competing in the WGC-Dell Technologies Matchplay this week and is unfortunately not here to defend his title, but there are a number of players in good form looking to capture the championship on Sunday afternoon.

  • Jazz Janewattananond

The highest-ranked player in the field at number 71 on the OWGR list and coming off yet another great event at last week’s Maybank Championship finishing third, the eighth top-ten finish in his last 12 events going back to the end of September last year. He started the year off in fantastic fashion with a win at the SMBC Singapore Open and had a fourth-place finish at the 100th New Zealand Open a few weeks prior to Malaysia.

  • Shubhankar Sharma

Sharma had a good chance to win this event on Sunday last year when he was tied for the lead with Matt Wallace after three rounds. Birdies in two of his first four holes in the final round meant he was off to a flying start, however double-bogies on the fifth and seventh hole derailed his bid for his first home Open title.

He will definitely be looking for redemption this time around.

  • Scott Hend

The champion last week at the Maybank Championship is obviously playing well and making a lot of birdies as well. He led the field in number of birdies made with 25 during the week in Kuala Lumpur, and if he can continue this trend he might be challenging for the trophy again this week.

Hend has missed the cut at DLF the last two seasons but the confidence he would have gained from last week’s win should be a great asset. It is certainly something you need to have playing this course.

Going though the statistics from last year’s Hero Indian Open at DLF, an important factor is a player’s Tee to Green performance. If this remains true this year, the players below would rank highly in a statistic combining Total Driving and GIR category for 2019, and may be contending for the title on Sunday afternoon:

  • Gaganjeet Bhullar (Tee to Green #2)

One of the best all around players on the Asian Tour in 2018, proven by his win in very windy conditions at the Fiji International. Would currently be ranked number two in an un-official TD/GIR statistic this season. Finished fourth in the Habitat for Humanity Standings last year.

  • Gavin Green (Tee to Green #3)

The 2017 Order of Merit Champion did not play a full schedule on the Asian Tour in 2018 but is performing well in the statistic this season. He has played well at DLF in the last two editions of this event, finishing second in 2017 and tied 16th in 2018, and seems to have figured out how he likes to play the course.

  • Johannes Veerman (Tee to Green #8)

Veerman was ranked number 16 in Tee to Green last year and has improved on this in 2019 up to number eight curently. He finished fourth last week in Malaysia and tied 16th in Kenya the previous week, so is obviously in good form overall as well.

  • Scott Vincent (Tee to Green #11)

A very good all-around player that already has a top result in 2019, finishing fourth in the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth. Vincent has improved his ranking in Tee to Green from 20th in 2018 to 11th this season, and this may be important this week. Finished fifth on the Habitat for Humanity Standings last year in a season with nine top-10 finishes that included three runner-ups.

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