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'Support us'

Zanzeer Singh
Wednesday, August 13, 2014

JAPAN-based Dinesh Chand expects the home fans to fire up the local participants at the Fiji International which starts at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course tomorrow.

Chand, who returns to competitive golf in the country after two decades, expects former world number one Vijay Singh to draw a big crowd during the four-day tournament.

Vijay arrived in the country early yesterday and will be speaking to the media today.

Chand teamed up with Vijay twice to play at the WGC World Cup. They finished tied for eighth in 2001 and were placed tenth the following year.

Chand, who has a career earnings of about $6.5million on the Japan Tour, said together with brothers Vijay and Krishna, they hoped to rise to the challenge showcasing their skills which would capture a world wide audience through 400 million homes.

He urged the fans to come out in numbers to cheer them on.

"It is a big week and there is a very strong field," the 42-year-old said.

"It is nice to be back home playing after 20 years. I have been working hard on my physical fitness and have been practising hard as well.

"The people will be out to watch us, the locals, so we will have to perform to their expectations. Vijay, Krishna and I have to show the people our capabilities.

"We need people to support us. When people are cheering, we turn to play good golf."

Chand's last victory was on the Japan Challenge Tour in 2010 when he won the Fuji Country Kani Club Challenge Cup and the Tohoku Yakurai Cup.

He has been battling a shoulder injury and has been in and out of competition since then.

"Hopefully it will be a good week," Chand said.

"The conditions will be tough but the course is great. It all depends on the wind. It is the sea breeze and many players are not used to it.

"So hopefully we can judge it and get the shots right. I hurt myself and have been playing on and off. I have gone through rehabilitation and my shoulder feels good."

Krishna, who plays on the Australian PGA Legends Tour, said it was good to see the government backing the tournament.

He said it would highly benefit tourism.

"It is great to see Vijay back home and playing here after a long time and also Dinesh. We want to get the local support.

"Everyone wants to make the cut but it is a tough course and who knows what is going to happen."

The Singh brothers together with Dinesh had a practice round at Natadola yesterday afternoon.

The Fiji International, which is offering a total prize purse of about $1.8m, will tee off at 6.45am tomorrow.

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