HONOLULU — Davis Love III couldn’t resist the lure of the SMBC Singapore Open for the same reason he couldn’t pass up a chance to compete in the Greenbrier Classic or the John Deere Open.
“Anytime you can play in a tournament that could get you into the Open Championship, then you go. That was a big reason for me,” said Love, 54, who is opting for the event co-sanctioned by the Japan Golf Tour and the Asian Tour instead of heading to the Big Island of Hawaii for the season-opening event on the PGA Tour Champions, the Mitsubishi Electric Championship.
Played at Sensota Golf Club, the Singapore Open is part of the Open Qualifying Series. The top four finishers not otherwise exempt for the Open Championship at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland earn berths in the year’s final major championship July 18-21.
Love, the 1997 PGA champion and winner of 21 PGA Tour titles across four decades, last competed in the Open Championship in 2012 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, England, where he missed the cut. Should he qualify, Love would compete in his 25th Open. His best finish is T-4 in 2003.
He is currently competing in the Sony Open in Hawaii, where he made the cut at five-under 135, tied for 23rd through 36 holes.
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“There were other factors involved, but playing for a spot in the Open put it over the top,” said Love, who traded a short hop to the Big Island for some 19 hours of travel from Oahu to Singapore after his wife Robin weighed in and expressed a desire to visit Southeast Asia. It didn’t hurt that tournament officials also offered a spot to Love’s son, Dru, who recently competed in the Web.com Tour qualifier but failed to gain his card.
The Singapore Open field also includes defending champion Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Ryo Ishikawa and Ho Sung Choi, the demonstrative, pirouetting 45-year-old Korean sensation who won last year’s Casio World Open in Japan.