"2015 Stars to Watch: Smith, Khan, Jazz, Tabuena"

Fri 23 Jan 2015

"2015 Stars to Watch: Smith, Khan, Jazz, Tabuena"

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Kuala Lumpur, January 23: Asiantour.com continues to look ahead at our 2015 season, which kicks off with the US$3 million Maybank Malaysian Open next month. Today, our experts boldly predict that young stars Cameron Smith of Australia, India’s Rashid Khan, Thailand’s Jazz Janewattatanond and Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines will enjoy a slice of the action in store over the next 11 months across the region.
Cameron Smith (Aus)
Baby-faced Cameron Smith was one of the season’s revelations in 2014. After graduating from Qualifying School, he took the Asian Tour like duck to water, settling down in the different climates and conditions. The 21-year-old from Brisbane enjoyed seven top-10s, including six in a row during the second half of the season to finish an impressivee fifth on the Order of Merit.
What can we expect:
Smith doesn’t drive it long – he averaged 281 yards in 2014 – but he certainly can hit a lot of greens in regulation where he was 71% last season to be ranked top-10 in the category. His putting isn’t shabby at 1.8 putts per greens in regulation but the young Aussie has shown that he can grind out results, especially against big fields which was evident at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters and CIMB Classic in Malaysia last season. He is expected to play abroad as well in 2015 through invitations.
Current World Ranking: 191st
Projected World Ranking at end of 2015: Top-100
Projected Order of Merit ranking: Top-20
Jazz Janewattananond of Thaiand Jazz Janewattananond of Thaiand
Jazz Janewattanond (Tha)
The Thai teenager has slowly established himself on the Asian Tour by safely keeping his full card over the past two seasons. In 2014, he enjoyed four top-10s in the midst of a swing change with his coaches. Jazz has also focused on his physical fitness and strength to gain more power and distance and as he continues to develop as a golfer, much is expected from the 19-year-old.
What can we expect:
He hit nearly 70% of fairways last season and notched 241 birdies for the fourth highest number in the category. Was also top of the Sand Saves category with 82% saves last year. With his exciting and aggressive play, we believe Jazz can go on to win a first Asian Tour tournament in 2015.
Current World Ranking: 490th
Projected World Ranking at end of 2015: Top-200
Projected Order of Merit ranking: Top-20
201114_RWMM_Rashid Khan (IND) 01Rashid Khan (Ind)
The 23-year-old Khan was one of the stars of 2014, winning twice at the SAIL-SBI Open in India and Chiangmai Golf Classic presented by PTT. The slender Indian went on to finish 10th on the Order of Merit with three other top-10s to complete a fantastic season. He has transitioned smoothly from top amateur golfer to professional ranks and much is expected of him in 2015 and the coming years.
What can we expect:
Khan is a wonderful putter where he averaged 1.7 putts per green in regulation last season and like they say, drive for show and putt for dough. He drives it fairly long too with a 296 yards average and once he gets his fairways hits numbers up, he will be winning more tournaments in the coming years. The more times he plays the courses around Asia, the better Khan will be as well. Watch out for him in 2015.
Current World Ranking: 204th
Projected World Ranking at end of 2015: Top-100
Projected Order of Merit ranking:  Top-5
Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines
Miguel Tabuena (Phi)
The 20-year-old enjoyed his best season thus far in his blossoming career by finishing 37th on the Order of Merit to earn full playing status in 2015. He came close to winning at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Taipei where he had a putt to win the tournament before losing in a play-off to Prom Meesawat. Also finished top-10 at the Solaire Open last year.
What can we expect
Tabuena is a hard-worker in the game and has a great and positive attitude in life. His performance stats are all very mid-ranged but once he improves and get stronger physically in time, the young Filipino can be expected to challenge for a first Asian Tour victory. We expect him to contend on courses which require precision over power as that is where his strength currently lies. All his past top-10s have been on such courses. He will need time to learn to play the new courses, especially at the co-sanctioned events but we believe Tabuena will be one of the stars of 2015.
Current World Ranking: 410th
Projected World Ranking at end of 2015: Top-200
Projected Order of Merit ranking: Top-15