Padraig Harrington embarks on The European Tour’s end of season Far East swing hoping to continue his recent resurgence in this week’s Barclays Singapore Open, as he attempts to make up ground in The Race to Dubai.
The three-time Major Champion is currently just one position outside the all important top 15 in the inaugural Race to Dubai, having finished in the top ten in three of his last four European Tour events including third place last time out in the Portugal Masters.
Harrington finished joint runner up with Ernie Els in the 2008 Singapore Open, one stroke behind winner Jeev Milkha Singh of India, and will be aiming to go one better this year, as The European Tour and Asian Tour co-sanctions the Barclays Singapore Open for the first time.
The Irishman is no stranger to success in Asia, having won the BMW Asian Open in 2003 and the Hong Kong Open in 2004.
With €5million – the largest prize fund for a national Open in Asia – on offer at Sentosa Golf Club, victory would see Harrington turn up the heat in his Race to Dubai campaign as the 2009 season enters the home straight.
Harrington will be joined in the field by fellow multiple Major Championship winners Els and Phil Mickelson, the latter of whom finished ninth 12 months ago, as well as former US Open Championship winners Michael Campbell and Geoff Ogilvy.
England’s Ian Poulter returns to European Tour action for the first time since his top 20 finish in the US PGA Championship as he searches for his first victory since 2006.
His Ryder Cup teammate Justin Rose, who finished tied sixth in his last European Tour appearance in the Portugal Masters two weeks ago, will be hoping for another impressive performance to strengthen his claims of finishing in The Race to Dubai top 60.
Another player in need of a strong finish if he is to make it into the top 60 and the season-ending Dubai World Championship presented by: DP World is Sweden’s Robert Karlsson, the 2008 European Number One.
Karlsson is currently 97th in The Race to Dubai having missed four months of the season due to a problematic eye injury.
Asia’s challenge will be led by Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, who has enjoyed a superb season with victories in the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open and the Ballantine’s Championship, both co-sanctioned events by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
“The course is very tricky but my swing is better than last time,” said Jaidee, who recovered from a disappointing opening 76 last year to finish 13th at the Barclays Singapore Open. “I’m confident of playing well, because my driver and irons are working well.
“You need to drive the ball well around there, and hit the fairways. It’s not an easy course to score on. The greens are firm, and the rough is very thick. On some holes, you have to hit away from trouble.”