EAST MEETS WEST IN TOP DRAWS
Sentosa, November 11: Spectators will have plenty of opportunity to see several greats of the game and Asia’s finest going head-to-head in the first two rounds of the US$5 million Barclays Singapore Open on Thursday and Friday.
World number three Phil Mickelson will play alongside the colourful Ian Poulter of England and Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant, the winner of a record 10 tournaments on the Asian Tour.
Big gallieries are expected to follow double Major winner in 2008 Padraig Harrington of Ireland, former Asian number one Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, eight-times a champion on the Asian Tour, and Arjun Atwal of India, also a former number one who regained his PGA Tour card on Sunday.
Another enticing grouping see two-time Barclays Singapore Open winner Adam Scott of Australia drawn alongside 2007 Asian number one Liang Wen-chong of China and Prayad Marksaeng, who has enjoyed the best year of his career with two wins on the Japan Tour and appearances in three Majors.
Three time Major winner Ernie Els of South Africa, runner up to Scott in 2006, will joust with New Zealand’s Mark Brown, the current leader of the Asian Tour Order of Merit, and Jeev Milkha Singh of India, who has won on the European and Japan Tours this year.
In a battle of the young guns, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, tipped as a future superstar, has been paired with Noh Seung-yul of Korea, who became the third youngest winner on the Asian Tour at 17 years and 143 days with his victory in the Midea China Classic in October. Former Asian number one Simon Dyson of England, now riding high on the European Tour, is the third member of the group.
K.J. Choi of Korea, a product of the Asian Tour who is a seven-time winner on the PGA Tour, will play with Oliver Wilson of England, one of the European success stories in the Ryder Cup. They will be joined by Lu Wen-teh, winner of this year’s Mercuries Taiwan Masters.