Singapore: The strength of the Asian Tour will be on full parade next week with the current and future golf stars from the region heading to the lucrative Barclays Singapore Open. India's S.S.P. Chowrasia will spearhead the Indian challenge in the tournament.
Chowrasia will also spearhead the Asian challenge alongside established names Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand and compatriot Jeev Milkha Singh, both former Asian Tour number ones, in the $6 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
Indian hot shots Himmat Rai, winner of the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic and Anirban Lahiri together with Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand and Japanese Tetsuji Hiratsuka, second on the Order of Merit, will also feature at the Sentosa Golf Club.
The Barclays Singapore Open will play an important role in the Order of Merit race where Chowrasia will hope to cement his position at the summit of the money list and fulfill a dream victory.
"Honestly, I never thought I would be leading on the Order of Merit. When you play competitively, you play to win or get a good result. I only concentrate on the event I play in but to actually be leading and having a chance to win the Order of Merit is a dream come true," said Chowrasia.
However, the odds will be heavily stacked against Chowrasia as he hasn't been in the best of form since winning the Avantha Masters on home soil earlier this year.
"I haven't had the best of results after winning but I am feeling very confident with my game. I feel it is coming along and the time will come when it just hits the top again. I just need to stay patient. The time will come," he said.
His best result in the Barclays Singapore was tied 19th in 2006 but he believes he stands a chance to contend against a star-studded line-up next week if he can get his putter hot.
"It is not because I am being too technical but it all comes down to the short game. That is one of the reasons for my dip in form. There are days when my putting is just not at a level where I want it to be. I need to be more consistent with my short game," said the 33-year-old.
The opening two rounds of the Barclays Singapore Open will be played over two courses - The Serapong and The Tanjong Courses - with the weekend rounds played at Serapong.
Major winners Ernie Els and Retief Goosen of South Africa, Y.E. Yang of Korea, Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, Padraig Harrington and Phil Mickelson of the United States have all confirmed their participation in Asia's richest national Open.