Golf

No Christmas break for Olympic golf champion Justin Rose

Olympic gold medallist played through holidays to keep momentum, excited to kick-start 2020 season

Christmas was not only about turkey and trimmings for Justin Rose, as the Olympic gold medallist continued to work hard on his game in anticipation of this week's SMBC Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club.

Rose, Olympic silver medallist Henrik Stenson of Sweden and American Matt Kuchar, who won the bronze four years ago at the Rio Games, will renew their rivalry at the jointly-sanctioned Asian Tour and Japan Tour tournament from tomorrow.

Englishman Rose said he was not too sure what to expect at his first event of 2020, but was enthused to be teeing up at The Serapong, which he calls "one of the best courses in Asia".

"It's really great to be back," said the world No. 9, who was tied for ninth at the 2011 edition.

"(The Serapong at) Sentosa is a golf course widely regarded amongst all of us players. One of the best golf courses in Asia.

"Conditioning out here is incredible. It's got a really nice atmosphere (here) and, yeah, I am excited about the week.

"We'll see (how my form is). This is the first time dusting off the clubs for 2020. I felt like I really started to get some momentum in the very back end of the year during the Hero tournament in the Bahamas.

"That was the tournament I was hitting much more as I remembered. So, when I managed to get the momentum, I didn't want to put my clubs down too much during Christmas. I played more than I normally would just to keep a little bit of momentum up, so I feel very clear with my swing.

"I haven't got a plan in place for this year. I'm just quite excited. I'm just going to do my best to enjoy it and, hopefully, it works out."

World No. 26 Stenson said that he really enjoyed the break over Christmas and New Year after winning the Hero World Challenge - an event hosted by Tiger Woods - last month and was keen to launch his 2020 campaign at the Singapore Open.

From December to early this month, I enjoyed my break," said Stenson, the first male Swede to win a Major when he triumphed at The Open in 2016.

"I had a great finish to the year and definitely enjoyed my holidays. In terms of form, of course, there's always a little questioning where you're standing when you play (for the first time in a new year).

DEBUT

"But, hopefully, not too much of the momentum from the Bahamas has worn off and just trying to do all the right things."

World No. 24 Kuchar will be making his debut at the Singapore Open, but said he had heard a lot about the city and the golf course from close friend Davis Love III, who played the tournament last year.

"It's one of those appealing cities that everybody wants to see and be a part of," said the nine-time winner on the PGA Tour.

"There are a whole lot of attractions, a whole lot of reasons just to come visit and be able to play at a tough course like this that's so highly regarded."

Kuchar played two PGA Tour events in Hawaii at the start of the season and said that the winds at Sentosa Golf Club would not worry him.

"(After Hawaii) I am probably more prepared for winds of 30 - 65kmh than almost anybody else. We played a lot last year, in different conditions," he said.

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