Sentosa, Singapore, January 14: Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa is excited to go up against a world-class field that includes all three Olympic medalists as well as good friend and defending champion Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand when the US$1 million SMBC Singapore Open starts on Thursday.
The Japanese rediscovered his best form with three wins on the Japan Golf Tour last year and is ready to establish himself as one of the genuine contenders for the Singapore showpiece which is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO) for the fifth successive season.
Held at the Home of the Asian Tour in Sentosa Golf Club, Serapong Course, the SMBC Singapore Open will feature close to 60 Asian Tour champions from 24 countries with Singapore’s highest ranked professional Quincy Quek spearheading the local charge.
The stellar field at the SMBC Singapore Open is further boosted by the arrival of England’s Justin Rose, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and American Matt Kuchar – the gold, silver and bronze medalists respectively at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, all ranked inside the top-50 in the world.
As an added incentive to the 156 players in the field this week, the SMBC Singapore Open continues to be part of The Open Qualifying Series for the fourth consecutive year.
The leading four players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 12 and ties on the final leaderboard will earn coveted spots at the 149th Open at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Kent, England from July 16-19.
SINGAPORE-Justin Rose of England answers questions at a press conference, Tuesday January 14, 2020 ahead of the SMBC Singapore Open at the Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore. The USD$ 1 million event is co- sanctioned with the Asian Tour and Japan Tour, January 9-12, 2020. Picture by Paul Lakatos/Lagardére Sports.
Did you know?
- Ryo Ishikawa headed into the weekend in tied-second place after rounds of 69 and 66 at the SMBC Singapore Open last year. But he fell out of contention with rounds of 73 and 75 to finish in a share of 47th
- Ishikawa won three times on the Japan Golf Tour in 2019. He won the Japan PGA Championship in early July, followed through with a triumph in August at the Segasammy Cup and was victorious again in the Golf Nippon Series JT Cup in December.
- The Japanese now holds 17 Japan Tour titles and his return to top form saw him surge into third place on the money rankings in Japan and he would end the year in 80th place on the Official World Golf Ranking.
- Ishikawa shot to fame in May 2007 when he became the youngest winner on the Japanese circuit at 15 years and eight months with victory at the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup. He was still an amateur then and the event was his first on the Japan Golf Tour.
- Ishikawa turned professional in 2008 and won eight tournaments in a two-year spell, four of those victories coming in 2009.
- Olympic gold medal winner and former world number one Justin Rose of England will be playing in the SMBC Singapore Open for the third time. He previously finished tied-ninth and tied-14th in 2011 and 2009 respectively.
- Rose is a one-time Major winner (2013 U.S. Open) and a five-time European Ryder Cup team member (2008, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018). He has also won twice on the Asian Tour – Hong Kong Open (2015), Indonesian Masters (2017)
- Henrik Stenson of Sweden, who won The Open in 2016 and took home the Olympic silver medal that same year, will be making his second appearance in the SMBC Singapore Open. He previously played the prestigious event in 2011 where he missed the cut.
- In addition to his one Major victory, other highlights in Stenson’s career include winning the Players Championship (2009), the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship (2007) and playing on five European Ryder Cup squads (2006, 2008, 2014, 2016, 2018).
- Stenson is a one-time Asian Tour winner, having won the Qatar Masters in 2006.
- Rounding out the Rio Olympics medal-winners is American Matt Kuchar who took home the bronze medal. He will be playing in the tournament for the first time.
- Kuchar’s biggest two victories came at the 2012 Players Championship and the 2013 WGC – Accenture Match Play Championship. He has also played on four American Ryder Cup teams (2010, 2012, 2014, 2016) and five Presidents Cup teams (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019).
- Top-ranked Singapore professional Quincy Quek is coming off his best season as a professional in 2019 winning two titles, the PGM Northport ADT Championship on the Asian Development Tour and the Haikou Classic on the PGA Tour Series China.