Region’s Stars Light Up Inaugural World Classic Championship

Singapore: Newly-inducted Asian Tour winner Chiragh Kumar of India celebrated Deepavali- the festival of lights- by declaring his intentions to win his second straight Tour title at the inaugural World Classic Championship which starts on Thursday.

Kumar will be part of the strong 144-man field where no fewer than 35 Asian Tour winners, including four Order of Merit champions, will be in action at the Singapore showpiece.

The Indian broke into the winner’s circle for the first time in New Delhi last week and is looking forward to producing similar heroics away from home at the Laguna National Golf and Country Club where the US$750,000 event is taking place.

“It was pretty heartbreaking to lose my card last year so that victory was a big confidence booster as I know that I can go out there, compete with the best and win,” said Kumar.

The challenging World Classic course, touted as Asia’s toughest test, will provide Kumar with the stiffest test and it is one which he will be playing with caution.

“The course is very different. It is set up in a way where you can make some really big numbers. So you got to be really careful.

“You can hit some really good shots and still not be fully rewarded. So it’ll be an interesting and one really has to be smart and sharp out there,” said Kumar.

Compatriot S.S.P. Chawrasia, a three-time Asian Tour winner, will also be searching for his first Asian Tour victory away from home.

Chawrasia’s three wins on the region’s premier Tour have all come at home but with a rich vein of form which has seen him notched three top-10s this year, the Indian is hoping he can be duly rewarded this week.

“My wife’s here with me this week and we’ll be having our own small celebration in Singapore. Turning to golf, I think it’s going to be a very fun week as the greens are very tough.

“But having said that, I’m playing well and anything can happen. We’ll see on Sunday,” said Chawrasia, ranked fourth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Local favourite, Mardan Mamat, whom Kumar has singled out as the man to beat this week, returns to familiar ground where he will be best remembered for his famous victory at the 2006 Singapore Masters.

While hoping for lady luck to shine on him, Mardan, who has already won his fifth Asian Tour title in Bangladesh this year, is also hoping to put his local knowledge to good use as he chases another grandstand finish at home.

“You got to be lucky. You got to know the pin positions well. Even if you manage to hit a good shot onto the greens, you might not even be rewarded.

“So hopefully things come my win and I can up there during the weekend. You can never tell on this course,” said Mardan.