Golf

SMBC Open defending champion Jazz hopes same locker brings same magic

Call it superstition or a confidence booster.

Thai golfer Jazz Janewattananond is hoping that by using the same locker that he did at last year's SMBC Singapore Open, it will lead to the same outcome for this year's edition, which starts today and ends on Sunday.

At yesterday's press conference, the defending champion reminisced over some of his crucial shots for last year's record 18-under 266 win at the Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong Course, adding: "I got the same locker as last year, so hopefully this year the same magic happens."

To be sure, the world No. 38 also has form on his side, following a 1-1-4 finish from his previous outings.

He ended 2019 on a high by winning both the BNI Indonesia Masters and Thailand Masters, before finishing fourth at last week's Hong Kong Open.

But at Sentosa, the 24-year-old will be facing a strong field, which includes the 2016 Olympic medallists Justin Rose (gold), Henrik Stenson (silver) and Matt Kuchar (bronze).

World No. 9 Rose built up some momentum when tying for fifth spot at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas last month and tried to maintain the surge by practising over the Christmas period.

Kuchar, who is ranked 26th, also kept himself busy by playing on the PGA Tour in Hawaii over the last two weeks.

Another name to look out for is Japan's Ryo Ishikawa, who has taken up weight training, a discipline that he sidestepped in the past, to boost his recovery from back injury.

On the local front, the likes of Quincy Quek, James Leow, Low Wee Jin and Nicklaus Chiam will be flying the Singapore flag.

Leow, who won the SEA Games gold medal last month, said: "Obviously all of us know the course well and playing with the home crowd around friends and family.

"So it'll be good, just go out there, have fun, just play the best we can."

Golf