Turner and Spieth ready to push on at Singapore Open
Niall Turner

Niall Turner

Niall Turner must overcome world No 1 Jordan Spieth in this week's US$1m SMBC Singapore Open if he's to achieve his goal of winning on the Asian Tour this season in his first outing of the year.

But given his enthusiasm and desire to finally put some injury plagued seasons behind him, the 33-year old former Muskerry player is right to shoot for the stars.

Jordan Spieth poses with an Irish fan in Singapore

Jordan Spieth poses with an Irish fan in Singapore

Last season, Turner finished an excellent 58th in the Asian Tour's Order of Merit with fifth place finishes in the Venetian Macao Open in October and Decembers' Philippine Open.

That money list position got him into the field this but but he's aiming even higher now and a win would guarantee him a card for two years.

With the merger with the European Tour still on the cards, the Asian Tour looks a good bet for the former Irish Close runner up.

"Physically I am in great shape," said Turner, who is joined on Sentosa Island by European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke, Jamie Donaldson an d said recently. "The last four years were pretty miserable for me at times. The issue was a defect in my hip that I was born with and took a whole to fully correct. Finally I have a clean bill of health and I am excited about the coming year.

"I would love to win an event. That would give me a two year exemption, which would be great and give me entry into more European Tour events."

Turner will be targeting the co-sanctioned events this year - the Maybank Championship, True Thailand Classic and the Hero Honda Indian Open.

But he has his work cut out to win this week with Spieth now in possession of a personalised Irish soccer shirt ahead of this summer's European Championships.

The world No 1 finished a jaded fifth behind Rickie Fowler in Abu Dhabi last week but believes that by resting enough he can contend on Sunday.

“Since arriving, I’ve spent the day resting, just trying to catch up on sleep, strength and rehydrate," said the Masters and US Open champion.

“This golf course is ranked in the top-60 in the world which is pretty special. Once Thursday starts I don’t mind the humidity and heat as I’m used to it in the summer in Texas."

Spieth started the year commandingly with a victory on the PGA Tour in Maui in January, and settled for tied-fifth place in Abu Dhabi last week.

The Asian Tour reported:

While he admits that his globetrotting schedule has taken a toll on his game, the American is convinced he can still produce his ‘A’ game at the Sentosa Golf Club after taking a deserved break upon his arrival in Singapore on Monday.
“I wouldn’t be over here now if I weren’t interested in playing around the world. For me it doesn’t matter as long as it fits the schedule.
SINGAPORE-L-R- Jamie Donaldson of Wales, Y E Yang of Korea, Shingo Katayama of Japan, Jordan Spieth of the USA, Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, An Byeong-hun of Korea pictured with the trophy Tuesday January 26, 2016, ahead of the SMBC Singapore Open at the Sentosa Golf Club, Serapong Course, Singapore. Picture by Paul Lakatos / Lagardère Sports.

SINGAPORE-L-R- Jamie Donaldson of Wales, Y E Yang of Korea, Shingo Katayama of Japan, Jordan Spieth of the USA, Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, An Byeong-hun of Korea pictured with the trophy Tuesday January 26, 2016, ahead of the SMBC Singapore Open at the Sentosa Golf Club, Serapong Course, Singapore. Picture by Paul Lakatos / Lagardère Sports.

“It won’t be a problem getting down on the golf course. I’ve looked over the yardage book already and it looks like a tricky golf course so I’m going to need to get as much information as I can,” said Spieth.
“I’m sure the wind will be a factor, and sometimes the downfall in playing a couple of weeks in a row where you have to travel long distances is that you don’t play get the preparation or knowledge of golf course that you only have but we can still go with it,” he added.

The SMBC Singapore Open features the top 60 players from the Asian Tour, top 60 from the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO), leading Singapore professionals and amateurs and invites including players from the top 50 in the world such as Spieth, Byeong Hun An or Jamie Donaldson.