lagunaLocal professionals are ready to tee up at the inaugural World Classic Championship at Laguna National when it gets underway at the Laguna National Golf and Country Club from November 12-15.

Known for its demanding and challenging layout, the World Classic course will offer the region’s finest players a stiff test when the US$750,000 Asian Tour event makes its debut in the Lion City.

Local veteran Mardan Mamat, countrymen Lam Chih Bing, Koh Deng Shan, Quincy Quek and Singapore-based Australians Scott Barr and Unho Park will be among the favourites challenging for the title at The World Classic Championship.

Asian Tour winners Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, Rahil Gangjee of India, Malaysia’s number one Danny Chia, Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand as well as Filipino duo Angelo Que and Antonio Lascuna will also feature in the first event to be sanctioned by the Asian Tour in Singapore this year.

Lam, a one-time Asian Tour winner but not since 2008, will be relishing the opportunity to play on his home course as he bids to end his winless drought on the region’s premier Tour.

“It’s great to have the tournament staged in Singapore as it will definitely boost the golf scene here. The World Classic course is very challenging but I am sure it will provide a good test to all the players.

“It’s been awhile since we last played a big event at home, hopefully I can capitalise on my home course advantage and produce some good results that week,” said the 38-year-old Singaporean.

Barr, who will also be playing on his home course, hopes a new swing change will help him put up a strong challenge on a course he is very familiar with.

“The players will be in for a happy surprise when they see the unique golf course. The guys who play there a lot will have a lot of advantage! It is a visually intimidating course to look at from the tee. There are a lot of tricks which you can learn the more times you play there. The owners of the club really wants to show their golf course,” said an excited Barr.

“I rebooted my swing big time after injuring my hips and I feel that the benefits are about to be seen. I changed the principles of my technique this year. I’m starting to see the fruits of my labour. It has been really good and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season,” added the 43-year-old Australian.

Local prospect Koh, a regular on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), jumped at the opportunity to tee up at the new Asian Tour event on home soil.

He believes it will be a chance for aspiring golfers like himself to make his mark on the international stage.

“The World Classic is a very challenging course. You really need to know where to place the ball on this course and the greens are tricky because of the multiple break putts. It will be a good challenge to all the players,” said Koh.

“It’s always a nice feeling to play on home ground. This event will also be a great advantage to all the local players. We play about three to four tournaments on the local Tour at the Classic course every year so we more or less know what to expect on that course,” added the 27-year-old Singaporean.

Mardan, who won the 2006 Singapore Masters at the Laguna National Golf and Country Club, will be shooting for glory with renewed confidence after claiming his fifth Asian Tour title in Bangladesh earlier in May.

“I am looking forward to play at Laguna National again. It holds a lot of fond memories for me. It’s always nice to play at home in front of your friends, fans and family. I can produce my ‘A’ game and contend for the championship,” said the 47-year-old veteran.

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