South Africa's Ernie Els will try and make it third time lucky in the Singapore Open after two disappointing outings in the event.
Els seeks a change of fortune in Singapore
SINGAPORE // South Africa's Ernie Els will be hoping to shake off the disappointment of contrasting failures he suffered in the previous two years when he takes a third tilt at the Singapore Open. The world number 11 enjoyed a morale-boosting victory in Morocco last week and the 39-year-old will want to carry that form forward to the demanding Serapong Course layout hosting the $5 million (Dh18.4 m) event, the richest national open on the Asia Tour. He will be teeing off against the best golfers in Asia and a host of international players including Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Padraig Harrington and KJ Choi. Els will be considered one of the favourites for the $792,500 first prize. In 2006, Els lost out to the Australian Scott in a playoff but failed to make the cut at last year's tournament, won by Argentina's Angel Cabrera, after suffering from illness during the opening two rounds. "I've experienced mixed fortunes the last two years," Els said on his official website. "I like this tournament and I like the course at Sentosa Golf Club, so I'm looking forward to teeing it up here again. I've played quite a few tournaments in Asia and believe me, this is the best. "This whole package and a significant prize fund is what helps attract the quality star players from around the world. I'm happy to be here and I know all these guys are, too." Scott's 2006 victory was his second in succession and the 28-year-old from Adelaide arrives in South East Asia seeking to become the first player to record a hat-trick of Singapore Open titles. "It's been a happy hunting ground for me here," Scott said."Whenever you come back to a place where you've played well, you get good vibes. I'm certainly looking to turn my game around a little bit and it's good to have the positive feelings. "The first year, I really felt like the course fits my eye well. I hit a lot of good shots then and it was a really tough set-up. "Ever since, I've always felt confident coming here. Whenever you win a tournament, not only do you get the good feelings, you have the pride to want to play well. My goal is to win this week." Meanwhile, Ian Poulter has pulled out of the Singapore Open after being unable to replace the driver he had stolen at the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai. "I am really gutted," he said. "I have been thinking about it for four hours and I have decided to withdraw because my new driver will not arrive on time. "It is disappointing because I did not come all this way not to play. But with so many world ranking points at stake, if I played badly (by using a different driver) I may have lost ground." India's Anirban Lahiri will take the Englishman's place in the field. *Reuters