Perera prepares to cross swords with rivals at Leopalace21 Myanmar Open

Mithun Perera Sri Lankan GolferYangon: Sri Lanka's Mithun Perera is looking to settle some old scores when he returns to avenge his narrow defeat at the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open which will tee off at the Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club on Thursday.

Memories of being pipped to the finishing line by Thailand's Chawalit Plaphol in 2013 still remains fresh in his mind and the bubbly 29-year-old is hoping to make up for lost time when the Myanmar showpiece returns after a two-year absence.

“I came very close to winning my first Asian Tour then and I remembered I was five shots off the lead at the start of the day and made a strong charge but lost by one shot.

“That was one of my best runs on the Asian Tour and I was really hoping I could win then. But it’s okay, I’ve another chance again this week and hopefully, I can do it,” said Perera.

While it has been close to three years since Perera last played at the Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club, he remains confident of tackling the challenging 7,218 yards-par 72 course.

“I had a short practice round and I know the kind of shots I should hit on this golf course again. I feel that as long as I stay focused and patient, I should be in contention again,” said Perera.

Chawalit believes it will not be a stroll in the park for the Sri Lankan as he is determined to put up a stout defence of his title.

“I’m going to defend my title well. I’ve won on this golf course and I’m confident I can do that again. The course conditions are more difficult as the fairways are softer and the greens more firm but I’m in good form and it should be okay,” said Chawalit.

Meanwhile Japan’s Shintaro Kobayashi is hopeful of being the surprise package at the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open which boosts a strong field that features Asian Tour Order of Merit winners Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, Philippines’ Juvic Pagunsan and China’s Liang Wen-chong and Korea’s K.T. Kim, who topped the merit list in Japan last year.

Kobayashi has yet to win a professional Tour but he is upbeat of achieving that following his solid finish in Singapore on Monday.

“I finished tied for fourth in Singapore which was one of my best results in a long time. That was my first event and to start off the season that well is really good for my morale and confidence.

“This is my first visit to Myanmar and it’s a very beautiful country. Hopefully, I can take back even more beautiful memories come Sunday,” said Kobayashi.

Myanmar's National Open was last played in 2013 and returns with a new title sponsor in Leopalace21 and lucrative prize purse of US$750,000.

It will be sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organsiation (JGTO) for the first time as part of a three-year partnership.