Home star Mardan eyes Singapore joy

Local hero Mardan Mamat believes he's still got what it takes to keep alive his wonderful record at the US$6 million Barclays Singapore Open.

Golf News: Mardan Mamat

Mardan, who celebrated his 44th birthday on October 31, has excelled since his Open returned to the Asian Tour Schedule in 2005. The Barclays Singapore Open, Asia's richest national championship, is jointly sanctioned with the European Tour.

The Singaporean veteran has made the cut every year except 2007 when he was disqualified. He finished 16th in 2005, 12th the following year, 41st in 2008, 31st in 2009 and 37th last season.

"I always look forward to my National Open ... this is a great event with a lot of good players competing," said Mardan, who is a two-time Asian Tour winner.

"I am a little tired. I have some time to rest and make sure when I tee off on Thursday I am relaxed and comfortable."

Mardan revealed he had joined the growing band of players opting to use a long putter. "I am using a belly putter for the first time. Started using it for the first time on Sunday," he said. "I feel I get a much nicer, smoother motion to it."

Mardan knows The Serapong and Tanjong Courses at Sentosa Golf Club better than anyone in the 204-man field and said that there has been only one major alteration since last year. "On the Serapong Course there is only one hole changed, the sixth, which is 30 yards longer. The rest is similar to last year," he said.

"The key to playing The Serapong Course is to know where the pin is (situated). Some greens where the pin is it is very tough to get it close.

"On the sixth hole, they have extended it by 30 yards so it is very hard to hold the green with a five or six iron. It is difficult for players to get at pins on that green with a long iron."

Mardan created history as the first Singaporean to win on the European Tour when he held off the defending champion Nick Dougherty of England for a one-stroke victory in the 2006 Singapore Masters, his last win in Asia.

With a huge prize pot this week, another local aspirant, Quincy Quek knows the Barclays Singapore Open offers a great opportunity for him to break into the top-60 of the Asian Tour's Order of Merit, which rewards players with a full card for 2012.

"I've played in a few big events but this one always seems bigger. I'm just trying to not make it as big as it is. The game is feeling good, swing is feeling better and rhythm is feeling better. I'm looking forward to the week," said the 24-year-old, who is currently ranked 105th.

In 2007, Quek finished as the low amateur at the Open, finishing in tied 33rd place after battling into contention at the halfway stage.

"When I played well here in 2007, the mental state of mind at that point of time was very relaxed, very chilled and it worked out nicely for me. I was three under after two rounds and it was nice to have been under par and I remember coming off the golf course every day and remember I didn't feel tired at all. It was a good feeling. Coming into this week, you always try to learn what you've done, recall what you've done. The most important thing is to take it stroke for stroke.

"A good week will bring a lot of opportunities, get into the top-60 (of the Asian Tour Order of Merit) and get into more events. But the most important thing is to get the first ball down the centre of the fairway come Thursday. I think that's more important, to enjoy each round rather than think about what will come with it."

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