Garcia, Casey wary of Asian threat

Sergio Garcia (Gallo Images)
Sergio Garcia (Gallo Images)

Sentosa - England's Paul Casey knows he has to overcome the strong Asian challenge to stand a chance of winning the Singapore Open which starts at the Sentosa Golf Club on Thursday.

The world No 24 is the highest ranked player in the elite 156-man field and knows that Asia's best players will pose a significant threat to his bid of winning Singapore's Open, which is the season-opening event for the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation.

"I believe there has been a constant kind of curve on the way up in terms of how many guys we see playing world class golf from Asia now," said Casey.

"They're competing all over now - there are multiple winners on the PGA tour, European Tour and Asian Tour so that's why when the three of us come over here this week, we know how tough this is going to be this week. The depth of field, I think that certain thing you see. You see the great players playing world golf but it's now very deep as well."

The 41-year-old Englishman may hold 18 professional victories worldwide but having witnessed the rise in Asian golf over the last decade, he is under no illusions that it will be a stroll in the park at this week's $1 million event.

Spain's Sergio Garcia is relishing the opportunity to defend his Singapore Open title.

"It feels good to be back. It is a course I love playing, a wonderful golf course, and to be here as champion is always special," said Garcia.

"Every year, you see more and more great Asian players coming out. Youngsters are coming out to play at the highest level and they're doing well. I think probably one of the biggest ones right now is Li Haotong."

He lived up to his star billing when he cruised to a five-shot victory last year and enjoyed a rich vein of form towards the end of 2018 where he secured one win and four top-10s in his last five starts.

England's Matthew Fitzpatrick is hoping to shine in his maiden appearance at the Singapore Open.

Fitzpatrick first came to Singapore as a nine-year-old on a family holiday and is back after more than a decade, hoping to challenge for his first win on Asian soil this week.

"The course is in fantastic condition and I am really looking forward to the week. I got back to work after the off season and have been practicing for five weeks straight trying to get into shape so I can compete with these guys (Garcia and Casey) a little bit more," said the Englishman.

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