Singh, Thongchai to play through pain barrier

Asian Tour stars Jeev Milkha Singh of India and Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee will play through the pain barrier in an attempt to win the $1.9 million Panasonic Open in Japan which starts on Thursday.

Singh is recovering from an injured finger that saw him out of action for four weeks while Thongchai is coming back from a twisted right ankle sustained at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August.

The Thai star, winner of 13 Asian Tour titles, said he could not pass up the opportunity of equalling countryman Thaworn Wiratchant's record of 14 wins on the circuit with a victory this week at the Higashi Hirono Golf Club, in Hyogo.

"Before I get my injury, I was very comfortable with my golf swing, said the 42-year-old Thongchai.

"But I couldn't do anything when I had the injury. Luckily it was on the right leg because if it was on the left leg, there would be no way I could play. This course is very hilly and I have to be careful," he added.

Singh, a two-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, did not touch his clubs for four weeks after he injured a finger during his play-off victory at the Scottish Open.

Despite his lack of golf, Singh finished a respectable tied for 31st at the ANA Open in Japan last week and hopes to spring another surprise this week.

"I was pleasantly surprised at how I played last week considering I didn't touch a club for four weeks," said the forty-year-old, in comments released by the organisers.

"Yes, it still hurts (finger) and it is on the way to healing. Four weeks of not touching the golf clubs helped but I still have to tape it up," he added.

Also featuring this week are Thaworn, Filipino Juvic Pagunsan, Liang Wen-Chong of China and defending champion Tetsuji Hiratsuka, who will be hoping to give the home crowd something to cheer about.