Shahriffuddin eyes good showing at Macao Open

MACAO: Malaysia’s Shahriffuddin Ariffin is hoping for a strong performance in this week’s US$1 million SJM Macao Open, following a confidence-boosting joint 14th place finish at thepreceding International Series Singapore on the Asian Tour.

The 24-year-old talent, who is playing at Macau Golf and Country Club for the first time, noted that his game is in good shape following a few tweaks to his swing.

“I was struggling with my swing during the two events in Taiwan before Singapore, so I spent some time at the range with the launch monitor to make a few adjustments to reduce dispersion. The good finish at Tanah Merah Country Club (for the International Series Singapore) showed that it worked,” said Shahriffuddin.

“My confidence level is still high, and I aim to shoot around two-under-par each day this week,” added the 24-year-old.

Shahriffuddin tees off at 8.30am in tomorrow’s opening round, grouped with Alex Ching of the United States and Thailand’s Thitipan Pachuayprakong. The Malaysian noted that he will have to manage his game well on the hilly and challenging golf course.

“The course is narrow and it’s very windy, so you have to manage your game well and keep the ball in play. The greens are fast and putts tend to break more than you think they would. But I like the design and the hilly layout, especially the par-three 17th that drops sharply down to the green with the sea on the left,” said the golfer from Melaka.

Earning his Asian Tour card for this year by finishing fourth on the 2022 Asian Development Tour Order of Merit, Shahriffuddin admitted that 2023 has been a steep learning curve for him.

“It’s been an up and down year for me. I’ve had to learn a lot on the fly, not only about playing at a higher level but also about managing things like travel. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge from speaking to some of the more experienced tour players,” shared Shahriffuddin, currently ranked 80th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Shahriffuddin is one of five Malaysians in action at Macau Golf and Country Club, along with Ben Leong, Nicholas Fung, Ervin Chang and rookie Casper Loh.

Making a much-anticipated return after six years, the SJM Macao Open features a field of 144 players vying for the honour of being crowned champion of its milestone 20th edition.

The tournament forms part of the final stretch of the Asian Tour’s 2023 season and will thus play a pivotal role in determining the Order of Merit champion.

The star-studded line-up includes Taichi Kho of Hong Kong, China, who recently won the individual gold medal at the 19th Asian Games men’s golf tournament, and Australian star Min Woo Lee, ranked within the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking.

The tournament is title sponsored by SJM Resorts, S.A. (SJM), who have signed a three-year agreement with tournament promoter and organiser IMG. SJM is a leading owner, operator and developer of premium integrated entertainment resorts in Macao.