Asian eyes on Scott and Garcia in US Open

SMBC Singapore Open champion Jazz Janewattananond came agonisingly close to teeing it up alongside the world’s elite players at this week’s US Open which will be staged at the iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links on the Monterey Peninsula.

Jazz needed a runner-up finish at the Japan Golf Tour Championship Mori Building Cup Shishido Hills on Sunday to move into the top 60 on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) and seal a place at the US Open, the third Major of the year.

The 23-year-old Thai, who tied for 14th at the PGA Championship, endured heartache on the closing hole at Shishido Hills when he missed a 15-footer for birdie which would have elevated him to tied second.

He finished tied for third, his second straight top-five finish on the Japan Tour after earning his playing rights with his SMBC Singapore Open win at Sentosa Golf Club.

However, the silver lining was his rise to a career-high 61st on the OWGR and the young gun also has The Open at Royal Portrush in July to look forward to after sealing his place in the field with his Singapore Open victory in January.

Despite the absence of the SMBC Singapore Open reigning champion, the US Open holds plenty of interest for fans of the Singapore Open and Asian golf.

Three-time Singapore Open champion Adam Scott of Australia roared into contention at the PGA Championship before falling to tied eighth after a closing 74 and will be a player to watch along with Spain’s Sergio Garcia, who was successful at Sentosa Golf Club in 2018.

Asian Tour members teeing it up at Pebble Beach include Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, currently world ranked 46th, India’s Anirban Lahiri, South Africa’s Justin Harding, Australia’s Marcus Fraser and the Japanese duo of Kodai Ichihara and Mikumu Horikawa at the year’s third Major.

Comeback king Tiger Woods, whose remarkable win at the Masters in April lilluminated world golf, will be returning to the scene of one of his greatest ever performances this week.

He won the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach by a record 15 strokes and was the only player under par at the tournament.

While that display came at the peak of his powers, his Masters victory, recent top-10 finish at the Memorial Tournament and intimate knowledge of Pebble Beach point to the maestro contending for his 16th Major title.

To win, however, he will have to outplay fellow American Brooks Koepka, the winner of the PGA Championship who is intent on re-writing golf history by becoming just the second player to lift the US Open three times in a row. Willie Anderson achieved the feat way back in 1905.

It’s set fair for a cracking week of golf against, just like Sentosa, a stunning backdrop.

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