6 Oct 2016

Sport: Fiji International tees off at Natadola Bay

7:51 am on 6 October 2016

Vijay Singh is putting added focus on his quest to win a maiden Fiji International golf title.

The Lautoka-born 53 year old is one of eight Fijians in the field at the Natadola Bay Championship Course.

The former world number one said he is striking the ball well, even if recent scores don't show it, and hopefully this can be his year.

"It would be nice to win here. I am looking forward to it, I am going to do my best to you know see if I can pull it off. You know put a lot more attention to it, a little less on the design side," he said.

"It used to be I come over here and I see what I can fix you know. This needs, shouldn't have been there and that was done wrongly. But this year I am more focused into just playing the tournament and you know we will see if I can pull it off."

Fiji golfer Vijay Singh

Fiji golfer Vijay Singh Photo: PGA of Australia

Another local hope is Sam Lee, who finished 26th at Natadola Bay last year.

The 26 year old made his professional debut last year but, after missing out at qualifying school, has spent much of 2016 at home reshaping his game.

"It has been a while since I have played in a tour event or a full tournament. So I have had some ups and downs and there's a few things to work on especially short game. I guess there is some pressure on me to play well on a home course but I have been playing this course for the last two years," he said.

"Two and half so it feels really good, really comfortable. The conditions are a little different this year a lot calmer. So I am expecting you know a lot of the other players will play well as well."

Fiji golfer Sam Lee

Fiji golfer Sam Lee Photo: PGA of Australia

Brandt Snedeker is the top-ranked player in the field at 23 in the world and will tee off fresh from helping the United States regain the Ryder Cup.

But the 35 year old from Nashville is no stranger to Fiji.

"I was here eight years ago - my wife and I honeymooned here in Fiji so it's not my first time and it's probably the reason I came back: realised how special and lovely this place is," he said.

"I'm excited to be back and brought my kids along this time so they can see it. Matt (Kuchar) was giving me a hard time last week, letting me know that he won this thing last year and I've got to hold up my end of the bargain now, so I feel a little more pressure on myself after that.

It's a great experience to be back and I can't wait to get out there and start playing a little bit."

American golfer Brandt Snedeker.

American golfer Brandt Snedeker. Photo: PGA of Australia

Another PGA Tour winner in the field, Boo Weekley, has been impressed by the Natadola Bay course and is looking forward to the week ahead.

The 43 year old admits his game has been shaky of late but is optimistic it can come together.

"I mean I like playing in the wind, I don't have much problem with the wind. As long as I can find the direction it's heading - just kind of focus on the shots and focus on where we're trying to leave this ball, just in case the wind does pick it up or move it or does something out of the ordinary."

The first batch of players teed off 6:15am local time.