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2024 Singapore Classic Preview, Picks & Analysis

By: | Mon 18 Mar 2024

The DP World Tour’s Asian Swing gets under way with the Porsche Singapore Classic at Laguna National Golf Resort Club. And it has to be said that the field is surprisingly strong.

Leading the way is French golfer Matthieu Pavon, who is walking on air after winning the Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour. It has to be said that he has taken to life across the pond like a duck to water. He finished tied seventh at the Sony Open, won at Torrey Pines and proved that was no fluke with a third place at the rain-shortened AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

This all follows his success at the Open de Espana in November last year.

Pavon earned dual membership for the PGA Tour after finishing 15th on the 2023 Race to Dubai Rankings following a stunning late season run of form which included his breakthrough victory in Madrid.

The victory at Torrey Pines saw Pavon become the first French winner on the PGA Tour in the modern era, and the first Frenchman to claim a PGA Tour victory since Arnaud Massy, whose Open Championship win in 1907 was recognised in 2002. 

The 31-year-old is now returning to the DP World Tour for the Porsche Singapore Classic ahead of his maiden Masters Tournament appearance in April.

“It is such a good feeling to be returning to the DP World Tour as a winner on the PGA Tour,” he said. “It’s been an amazing few months for me, winning in Madrid, getting my PGA Tour card and then winning at Torrey Pines. It’s great to have the freedom to play wherever I want and I’m excited to head to Singapore.

“I played well at Laguna National last year and it will be nice to see a lot of the guys who I’ve not seen for a while.”

Pavon will be joined by 2019 Open Champion Shane Lowry, Japan’s Rikuya Hoshino, who won his maiden DP World Tour title at last month’s Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, and Asian stars Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Gavin Green and Li Haotong are also in the field. Singapore will be represented by three qualifiers: Nicklaus Chiam, Joshua Yap and amateur Irvyn Tan.

Shane Lowry

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Lowry is desperate to get back into the winner’s circle after a series of recent near-misses. He won the Irish Open as an amateur in 2009 and claimed the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 2015 but his crowning glory came in 2019 when he won The Open by six shots at Royal Portrush. He also claimed the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in 2022 but that was his last win.

He finished tied fourth at the Cognizant Classic and was third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. As encouraging as that sounds, Lowry had chances to win both tournaments - he was the co-leader at Bay Hill after 54 holes before losing out to World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler. Lowry is in a rich vein of form but has admitted that he is growing increasingly frustrated at his inability to close the deal.

Tom McKibbin is another who is keen to add to his solitary victory at the Porsche European Open. A hugely gifted young golfer, he will be only too aware of what happened to Matteo Manassero - a winner at the age of 17, a four-time winner by the age of 20 and then 11 years in the doldrums. McKibbin won last year when he was just 19. The rest of his season was pretty disappointing but he is showing signs of the play that got everybody so excited about this young man. He was fourth at the Qatar Masters and tied ninth at the Jonsson Workwear Open. There have also been three other top-25 finishes.

He said: “It was a dream come true to win in Hamburg last year and I’m excited to see how Porsche’s influence will elevate the Singapore Classic. I enjoyed the test that Laguna National provided last year so I’m looking forward to seeing how the course shapes up again later this month.”

Germany’s Yannik Paul, who won the 2022 Mallorca Golf Open, is looking to build on a strong 2023 and a positive start to 2024 which has seen him secure two top tens in five starts. He said: “I’ve had a pretty decent start to the season and now I feel like it’s time to kick on and start challenging again. I’ve taken a few weeks off since Qatar so I should be fresh and ready to go again in Singapore.”

The form horse is Rasmus Hojgaard, a four-time DP World Tour winner. The Dane started with back-to-back ties for 11th at the Dubai Invitational and the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, before securing top tens in Ras Al Khaimah, Bahrain and Qatar to lie eighth in the Race to Dubai. “I was forced to miss this event last year due to injury so I’m pleased to be able to head to Singapore this year and see what it has to offer,” he said. “Experiencing new places is one of the greatest things about what we do, so I’m looking forward to a good week both on and off the course.”

The DP World Tour returned to Singapore last year after a nine-year hiatus with South Africa’s Ockie Strydom triumphing at Laguna National.

The tour first visited Singapore in 1993, with Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam winning the first editions of the Johnnie Walker Classic in 1993 and 1996. Fellow Major Champions Vijay Singh and Adam Scott are also winners on the DP World Tour in Singapore.

The 2006 edition of the Singapore Masters, held at Laguna National, was the scene of the most memorable moment in the country’s golfing history, when home favourite Mardan Mamat lifted the trophy, finishing one stroke ahead of England’s Nick Dougherty.

Tournament Winners:

The inaugural event last year was won by Ockie Strydom.

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 nine years ago. It measures 7,421 yards, is a par 72 and features a LOT of water, bunkers and waste areas.

Form Guide:

On the face of it this should be a cakewalk for PGA Tour star Matthieu Pavon, but golf doesn’t work like that. He is full of confidence but the same applies to Rasmus Hojgaard, who has shown some splendid form all year and will surely win again soon. This could be his week.

To Win:

Rasmus Hojgaard. Class act

Each Way:

Matthieu Pavon. Transformed

Each Way:

Shane Lowry. Desperate to win

Five to Follow:

Rasmus Hojgaard. In great form

Matthieu Pavon. Full of confidence

Shane Lowry. Wondrous short game

Tom McKibbin. Hugely exciting

Yannik Paul. Underrated German

Five Outsiders to Watch:

Kiradech Aphibarnrat. Would love to put on a show

Gavin Green. Can go really low on his day

Li Haotong. You never know what you are going to get 

Justin Harding. Still trying to rediscover his best form after injury

Paul Casey. Making a brief return to the DP World Tour

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Tags: Golf Previews european tour dp world tour

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