Jeev Milkha Singh will compete in Thailand Image Credit: VIirendra Saklani\Gulf News archives

This week sees the return of the Asian Tour with the $1 million Blue Canyon Phuket Championship in Thailand from Thursday to Sunday.

A field of 144 players have entered to this first tournament on the Asian Tour since March 2020.

Highlighting the list of entries include USA’s John Catlin, tied ninth in last week’s DP World Tour Championship, Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand, who recently tied fourth in the Aviv Dubai Championship and reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, former Order of Merit champions Gavin Green of Malaysia and Australian Scott Hend, as well as Dubai-based Indian golfers Jeev Milkha Singh and Shiv Kapur.

Representatives from 24 countries will play in the tournament including Middle East players — Saudi Arabia’s Faisal Al Salhab, Saud Al Sharif, Abdulrahman Al Mansour and Othman Almulla and Jordan’s Shergo Al Kurdi.

“It is great to see the Asian Tour return to the golfing calendar,” said Singh. “It has been away for far too long, but hopefully we are now able to live with Covid-19 in both the region and around the world. It is nice to be back in the rhythm of golf tournaments and travel, as well as be among fellow golfers, sponsors, media and fans with next week also having an event in Thailand. We cannot wait to get back to tournament golf, we have all missed it.”

The first round kicks off on Thursday morning over the Blue Canyon layout that is being played at 7,275 yards and a par 72. The course has hosted back-to-back events on the All Thailand Golf Tour and Thailand PGA Tour but this week marks the first time it has hosted an international event since the 2007 Johnnie Walker Classic won by Anton Haig from South Africa.

The club celebrated its 30th anniversary last month and has historically hosted the Johnnie Walker Classic in 1994 when Australian Greg Norman beat Fred Couples by a shot, as well as in 1998 when Tiger Woods defeated South African Ernie Els in a memorable sudden-death play-off.

The 2020-2021 Asian Tour Order of Merit is led by Wade Ormsby of Australia and followed by American Trevor Simsby who are both playing this week.

This season will conclude in January with two events being planned in Singapore to complete a nine-event Order of Merit that began in January 2020 in Hong Kong.