2013 Stars To Watch

Wed 20 Feb 2013

2013 Stars To Watch

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Yangon, February 20: The 10th Asian Tour season kicks off with the Zaykabar Myanmar Open presented by Alpine on Thursday and it promises to be another thrilling season as the region’s premier Tour grows from strength to strength. Asiantour.com takes a look at the contenders and dark horses who we think will make the headlines over the next 10 months of non-stop golfing action.
THE CONTENDERS
1. Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha)
As the reigning number one, the 46-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down in his career. He won three times in 2012 to win the Order of Merit for the second time in his career, becoming the oldest man to achieve the feat. Expect him to contend throughout the course of the season and all eyes will be on him too when he participates in the Masters Tournament, World Golf Championships and British Open.
2. Masanori Kobayashi (Jpn)
The powerful Kobayashi will be eager to build on his successful rookie season when he finished fourth on the Order of Merit last year, thanks to one win at the Asia Pacific Panasonic Open in Japan. With greater knowledge now of the golf courses around Asia, expect him to challenge for titles, especially in the co-sanctioned ones with Europe and Japan.
3. Jonathan Moore (USA)
The talented American, a former Walker Cup star, enjoyed a fantastic season in 2012 after getting his card by winning the Asian Development Tour in 2011. Although he did not win, he posted several top finishes at the Venetian Macau Open and Iskandar Johor Open. Has the length and short game to break through for his first victory on the Asian Tour.
4. Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind)
Bhulllar has established himself as one of the top stars on the Asian Tour, winning twice last season to finish fifth on the Order of Merit. He has the distance from off the tee to take any golf course and the determination in his veins to shine once more. Expect him to contend or win one of the co-sanctioned tournaments this season which will be his goal.
5. David Lipsky (USA)
Lipsky got off to a great start to his career on the Asian Tour, winning the Qualifying School and then the Handa Faldo Cambodian Classic. Produced several other top-10s to finish 11th on the rankings. With his go-for-broke style of play, we may not see him at some weekends but when his game clicks, he’ll be right up there contending for a second Asian Tour title.
6. Scott Hend (Aus)
After earning his second Asian Tour title last year in Singapore, big-hitting Hend can be expected to power his way onto the leaderboards in 2013. He has the ability to take on the best on any given day.
7. Thongchai Jaidee (Tha)
The three-time Asian Tour number one has enjoyed a solid start to his campaign in 2013 with some strong results in the Middle East. While he will focus on the European Tour, he will continue to feature on the Asian Tour whenever possible and this is where he will be keen to end a winless drought in Asia.
8. Mardan Mamat (Sin)
We expect the veteran Singaporean to shine this year. His solid all-round game will be key in tough courses like the Delhi Golf Club, Taiwan Golf and Country Club or Santiburi Samui Golf Club.
9. Prom Meesawat (Tha)
It is a surprise to many that Prom has only won once on the Asian Tour, which was in 2006 in Korea. He showed that he was back to his best form last year where he came close on several occasions, including losing in a play-off at the SAIL Open. Money is on him to win this year.
10. Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind)
The two-time Asian Tour number one will focus in Europe where he won a third title in Scotland last year. However, Singh will always be amongst the frontrunners and expect him to challenge at the co-sanctioned events in Asia, especially on his home soil.
THE DARK HORSES
1. Antonio Lascuna (Phi)
The quiet Filipino finished a creditable 12th on the Order of Merit last season, thanks to some fine finishes. He possesses a fluid swing which could translate into a maiden Asian Tour victory in 2013.
2. Scott Barr (Aus)
The Singapore-based Barr came agonizingly close at the SAIL Open last year, leading all the way until the penultimate hole which dashed his hopes of a first victory on the Asian Tour. Subsequently finished 21st on the Order of Merit. He will be keen to finally land a first title here in 2013.
3. Thitiphun Chuayprakong (Tha)
The young Thai was a great revelation last year, contending at the Venetian Macau Open and Thailand Golf Championship which helped him finish 25th on the rankings. Not the longest hitter of the golf ball on Tour but makes up for it with wonderful iron play.
4. Javi Colomo (Esp)
The slightly built Spaniard enjoyed a terrific rookie season in 2012 with several top-10s which saw him finish 26th on the Order of Merit. We like his chances of building on his great first year and challenging in several tournaments this year.
5. Baek Seuk-hyun (Kor)
The Thai-based Korean is a wonderful prospect. After establishing himself on Tour two years ago, he has consistently played well to finish 31st on the Order of Merit. He could well be a potential winner this season with his aggressive style of play.
6. Gunn Charoenkul (Tha)
The young Thai is another rising star coming out from Thailand. He earned his full status for 2013 despite playing in only six tournaments. While he may not be on the winner’s rostrum in 2013, we expect him to feature on the leaderboards in many tournaments.
7. Marcus Both (Aus)
The two-time winner will always be a threat if his game clicks at the right time and the right place. Meticulous and steady. Should have a great year in 2013.
8. Ben Fox (USA)
The American had a flying start to his 2012 season before taking his foot off the pedal. Expect the same when he launches his campaign in Myanmar this week and he could well contend on golf courses which demand accuracy from off the tee.
9. Mithun Perera (Slk)
Son of the famous Nandasena, Mithun earned his card for 2013 despite his limited appearances on the Asian Tour last season. He is steady and calm and could well enjoy several top-10s if not a maiden win in 2013.
10. Danny Chia (Mas)
It’s been over 10 years now since Chia won his maiden Asian Tour title in the Taiwan Open. With age, he seems to have steadied the ship in his search for more victories. Expect him to contend on several occasions this season.