A power-packed line-up of Asian Tour stars consisting of nearly 20 Tour champions and two Order of Merit winners is set to feature in the Fiji International, which will debut on the region’s premier Tour in a fortnight.
Reigning Order of Merit champion and Australian Scott Hend will spearhead the elite cast alongside Indian stars Jeev Milkha Singh and Rahil Gangjee at the Natadola Bay Golf Club, located at the world renowned Natadola Beach on Fiji’s Coral Coast.
Young Thai talent Phachara Khongwatmai, Malaysia’s rising star Gavin Green and Todd Sinnott of Australia, placed third, fourth and seventh respectively on the current Order of Merit rankings, will also headline the A$1.5 million (approximately US$1.14 million) event.
Indian stalwart Gangjee is eagerly looking forward to a maiden appearance at the event, tri-sanctioned for the first time by the Asian Tour, the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and the European Tour.
“It’s good that the Asian Tour is tri-sanctioning this event now. It gives us more opportunities to play for more money and have access to the other Tours. I heard it’s really windy on that course but it’s beautiful. I can’t wait to go there and see what it is all about,” said Gangjee
Gangjee, who made only three cuts in nine starts, hopes to turn his lacklustre season around with a good showing when the Asian Tour breaks new ground at the holiday isle of Fiji in two weeks’ time.
“I have not started well this season. The first half of the season hasn’t been that good but I’m working on my mental side of the game and it has become a lot better in the last two months. I played pretty solid at the Queen’s Cup and I’ve gained some confidence from there.
“There are a lot of big events coming in the second half of the season so I am hoping to capitalize on them,” added the 38-year-old Rahil, a one-time winner on the Asian Tour but not since 2004.
Thai duo Rattanon Wannasrichan and Jazz Janewattananond, as well as young Korean pair Jeunghun Wang and Soomin Lee will also feature in the event, which was inaugurated in 2014.
Other notable players include Australia’s Brett Rumford, Danthai Boonma of Thailand, Bangladeshi hero Siddikur Rahman and American duo Casey O’Toole and Johannes Veerman, who won the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
The fourth edition of the Fiji International is the second event, following the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth in February, to be tri-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and the European Tour.