Arguably the most affected circuit at the hands of COVID, the Asian Tour will quickly return to action following this week, one of the Tour’s biggest events each season in recent years having first being played in 1961.

DEFENDING CHAMPION: Last played in 2020, American Matt Kuchar was the eventual champion in Singapore reaching 18-under-par for the week.

Also held at Sentosa, Kuchar’s winning margin was three strokes over the man who beat him and Henrik Stenson to Gold at the Rio Olympics, Justin Rose. Kuchar won't defend his title this week.

COURSE: The host of this event since 2005, Sentosa Golf Club once again welcomes the Singapore Open field to its Serapong Course, which will play very differently than in the past courtesy over a major overhaul during COVID.

Matt Kuchar took home the title in 2020, but will not defend the trophy this week. PHOTO: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images.

A facility with a commitment to sustainability via its #KeepitGreen program among others, Sentosa embarked on a redevelopment under the eye of its General Manager, Director of Agronomy and Resident Golf Course Designer, Andrew Johnston.

Opened for play in 1982, Serapong’s redesign has enhanced the strategic element of the layout, while the fast and undulating greens remain among the most significant challenges of the course on Sentosa Island.

A new bunkering style with rugged edging and a greater influence on play was also part of the redesign, so too moving a number of holes to play closer to the water and regrassing of the Zoysia Matrella fairways.

RELATED: So-called expert golf tips for this week

PRIZEMONEY: US$1,250,000
 

PLAYERS TO WATCH: World No.27 Paul Casey headlines the field this week, a big decision to pass up chances to play for more prizemoney on the PGA and DP World Tours.

Casey was set to make the journey here in 2021 before COVID forced the cancellation of the tournament and has made good on his commitment, with a good chance to get his year off to a winning start.

The 6th holes has undergone significant changes since the tournament was last played in 2020. PHOTO: Supplied.

Casey’s last start came at the conclusion of the then European Tour in Dubai last year, when the Englishman was T9 at the DP World Tour Championship. The state of his game is unknown ahead of this week, however, the 44-year-old is a top class player and proven quality traveller with his game so is among the chief chances here.

Last week’s winner Joohyung Kim hasn’t completely locked away the Order of Merit top spot, with the money on offer here allowing a number of players to potentially pass the Korean.

Clearly in good form based on his result last week around an exceptionally difficult golf course following a lack of golf at home in Korea over the winter, Kim is a rising star of Asian golf and could go close to entering the top-50 of the world rankings with another win this week.

Part of a strong Aussie contingent headed to Singapore, Zach Murray is progressively making a resumption to his playing career after struggling with the mental side of his performance, that he has spoken openly about of late. And this is an event where Australians have had immense success in the past.

Murray’s quality as a player is unquestioned, and was on full display when he won the New Zealand Open in 2019, and some solid if unspectacular results of late on the PGA Tour of Australasia suggest the man from the New South Wales and Victorian border isn’t far away from finding his best golf again soon.

72-HOLE RECORD: 266, (Matt Kuchar, 2020 and Jazz Janewattananond, 2019).

PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: Adam Scott (2010, 2006 & 2005), Kenny Druce (1999), Steve Conran (1995), Paul Moloney (1993), Peter Fowler (1987), Terry Gale (1978), Frank Phillips (1965 & 1961) and Ted Ball (1964).

AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Zach Murray, Travis Smyth, Jake Higginbottom, Daniel Fox, Ben Eccles, Matthew Griffin, David Bransdon, Andrew Evans and Todd Sinnott.

TV TIMES*
Round 1: Thursday (Fox Sports 503 4pm – 8pm)
Round 2: Friday (Fox Sports 503 4pm – 8pm)
Round 3: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 2pm – 6pm)
Round 4: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 2pm – 6pm)
*AEDT, check local guides