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2023 Singapore Classic Preview, Picks & Analysis

By: | Mon 06 Feb 2023

CHINA'S Li Haotong is one of the star attractions at the inaugural Singapore Classic at Laguna National Golf Resort.

The 27-year-old made a dramatic return to the winner’s circle last year as he won the BMW International Open in Germany, ending a four-year wait for his third DP World Tour title.

In 2018 he became the first male golfer from China to break into the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking when he edged out Rory McIlroy to claim victory at the Dubai Desert Classic. He appeared to have the world at his feet but then found himself struggling with his game until he bounced back in style in Germany.

Now set to tee it up in the DP World Tour’s first tournament in the Far East since 2019, Li is eagerly looking forward to competing close to home soil once again.

“I’m really excited to play in Singapore and play golf so close to home again,” said Li. “We’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a long time and I know all the golfers from the Far East are really looking forward to this tournament.

“My win in Germany last season was such an important moment for me and I’m excited to see what will happen this year - I hope I can build on that result, particularly when we return to Singapore next month.”

Li will be joined in the 132-man field at Laguna National by fellow DP World Tour stars Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand and New Zealander Ryan Fox, as well as rising stars Ratchanon (TK) Chantananuwat of Thailand and China’s Ding Wenyi.

Fox will be making his first professional appearance in Singapore. The 35-year-old enjoyed a stellar year in 2022, finishing second on the DP World Tour Rankings. The big-hitting Kiwi won twice and also recorded four runner-up finishes and four further top 10s. He is now comfortably inside the top 30 in the world rankings, which means he will be playing in all four majors and WGC tournaments in 2023. 

“I’m really looking forward to returning to Singapore to play this year’s Singapore Classic,” said Fox. “One of the great things about the DP World Tour is the opportunity we get to travel the world and compete in so many different places, so to tick off a new country and a new venue is very exciting.

“After last year’s success, I’m really keen to kick on and see what the coming year brings. I feel really good about my game and hopefully I can give my best showing for the fans in Singapore. I know there’s a big expat community of New Zealanders in Singapore, and it would be great to see them at Laguna National.”

Robert MacIntyre

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Robert MacIntyre is determined to make Luke Donald’s European Ryder Cup team. He also needs to get back into the top 50 in the world rankings, so you can expect to see him playing a lot of tournament golf this year. He finally landed his second DP World Tour title last year when he won the Italian Open. The Scottish left-hander has shown some decent early-season form but will be keen to win again - and soon.

Ding and Ratchanon ended the year ranked 15th and 16th respectively in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

At the age of just 15, Ratchanon arrives at the Singapore Classic after an astonishing 2022, during which he became the youngest male player to win on one of golf’s major tours when he claimed the Trust Golf Asian Mixed Cup. And 17-year-old Ding won the US Junior Amateur Championships to secure his place at the 2023 U.S. Open.

These two young men represent the future of golf in this part of the world and are sure to attract a huge amount of attention. Don’t be surprised to see them in contention.

Form Guide

Ryan Fox loves this part of the world and is keen to prove that 2022 was not a flash in the pan. Laguna National is a course that is made for his game. Haotong Li is desperately inconsistent but he is due another big week, and he tends to play well in this part of the world.

The Course

Laguna National Golf Resort Club previously hosted the Singapore Masters from 2002 to 2007. Inaugurated in 1993 and situated on Singapore’s east coast, it was also the venue for the DP World Tour’s last visit, when Chilean Felipe Aguilar triumphed in The Championship at Laguna National eight years ago. It measures 7,421 yards, is a par 72 and features a LOT of water, bunkers and waste areas.

To Win:

Ryan Fox. Hits the ball a mile

Each Way:

Haotong Li. Capable of shooting the lights out

Each Way:

Robert MacIntyre. Looking for another win

Five to Follow:

Ryan Fox. Full of self-belief

Haotong Li. Can be brilliant - or truly awful

Robert MacIntyre. Wondrous short game

Antoine Rozner. Classy French golfer

Ewen Ferguson. Harbours Ryder Cup ambitions

Outsiders to Follow:

Ratchanon Chantananuwat. 15-year-old destined for big things

Ding Wenyi. Could be China’s next superstar

Wil Besseling. Has shown some flashes of real form

Nathan Kimsey. Challenge Tour graduate has started the season well

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Tags: european tour dp world tour

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