Golf

Olympic medallists set for SMBC Singapore Open

Rose, Stenson and Kuchar part of elite field at next year's $1.4m tournament

The top-three golfers at the 2016 Rio Olympics will feature at next year's SMBC Singapore Open, the organisers confirmed yesterday.

England's Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson from Sweden and American Matt Kuchar - the gold, silver and bronze medallists respectively in Brazil - will be part of an elite field at the US$1 million (S$1.4m) tournament on the award-winning Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club (SGC) from Jan 16 to 19.

For the fifth successive season, the event will be jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organization.

"The SMBC Singapore Open has attracted many world-class players over the years, but it is fair to say the 2020 edition will be an extra special tournament with the calibre of players competing and their list of achievements," said Singapore Golf Association president Ross Tan.

"We look forward to welcoming them to Singapore for what is one of the biggest and most important golf tournaments in Asia. It is also the perfect way to start a year when the Olympics returns to Asia."

2011 EDITION

World No. 4 Rose and Stenson (world No. 34) played at the 2011 Singapore Open and the Englishman finished joint ninth, while the Swede missed the cut. World No. 21 Kuchar will be making his debut in Singapore next year.

Rose became golf's first Olympic champion since 1904 when he won the gold medal in Rio. He also made history when he recorded the first hole-in-one in Olympic golf.

The 39-year-old enjoyed his most successful season last year by winning the FedEx Cup and claiming the No. 1 spot on the Official World Golf Rankings - both for the first time.

Rose, who won the US Open in 2013, has 11 titles on the European Tour and 10 on the PGA Tour.

Stenson also has one Major to his name - the Open Championship in 2016 - the year he claimed the European Tour's Race to Dubai.

In 2013, he made history by winning both the FedEx Cup and the Race to Dubai titles - becoming the first player to win both, and in the same season.

The Swede famously partnered Rose in last year's Ryder Cup, winning both their foursomes matches.

The 43-year-old also triumphed in his singles game to go undefeated and help Europe reclaim the Cup.

Kuchar is a nine-time winner on the PGA Tour and won the Money List in the US in 2010.

The 41-year-old American has triumphed in some of the biggest tournaments, including the Players Championship in 2012 and the 2013 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. He has also finished in the top 10 at Majors on 12 occasions.

Like Rose and Stenson, Kuchar has been a regular in the Ryder Cup matches over the past decade.

"The SMBC Singapore Open is one of the first tournaments of the year in world golf and what an exciting line-up of players we can look forward to watching next year. And there can be no better venue to stage such an eye-catching event than Sentosa Golf Club and the holiday island of Sentosa," said SGC's general manager and director of Agronomy Andrew Johnston.

"Sentosa has staged Singapore's national Open since 2005 and we are proud the tournament has grown to become one of the region's showpiece events that draws the finest players in the game."

SPECIAL TREAT

Added Patrick Feizal Joyce, senior vice-president of golf (Asia) at Lagardere Sports, organiser of the Singapore Open: "Golf fans in Singapore are in for special treat next year with Rose, Stenson and Kuchar set to grace the fairways of SGC.

"This is certainly an exceptional line-up of star players, particularly as they were the medallists at the last Olympics. All three have won nearly every accolade in golf and are known for being true ambassadors of the game, so it will be an outstanding start to the year for everyone involved."

Last year's champion Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand is expected to return to defend his title.

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