Asian Tour stalwarts Jeev Milkha Singh of India and Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee are upbeat about winning the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open despite struggling with injuries.
Jeev has an injured trigger finger and Thongchai twisted his right ankle earlier but they will play at the US $1.9 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour starting Thursday.
Thongchai and Singh will make up a total of five Asian Tour Order of Merit winners this week, who include Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines, Liang Wen-chong of China and Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, who have a combined total of eight Order of Merit crowns.
Title holder Tetsuji Hiratsuka, Gaganjeet Bhullar, who won his third Asian Tour title Monday, Ryo Ishikawa and Anirban Lahiri and current Order of Merit leader Marcus Fraser of Australia will also feature at the Higashi Hirono Golf Club.
Jeev, who is a two-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, did not touch his golf clubs for four weeks as he injured his trigger finger in his play-off victory at the Scottish Open. Despite the lack of competitive golfing, he carded a tied 31st result in Japan last week and hopes to spring another surprise this week.
"I was pleasantly surprised at how I played last week considering I didn't touch a club for four weeks," said Jeev, who has won four titles in Japan.
"The finger still hurts and it is on the way to healing. Four weeks of not touching the golf clubs helped but I still have to tape it up," added the 40-year-old.