Thongchai eyes record fourth Merit crown

Tue 10 Sep 2013

Thongchai eyes record fourth Merit crown

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Kuala Lumpur, September 10:  Asian Tour golf legend Thongchai Jaidee is aiming to launch a late season charge for an unprecedented fourth Order of Merit crown but conceded he would still be a happy man if compatriot Kiradech Aphibarnrat beats him to the top honour.
Thai star Thongchai moved up one rung on the latest rankings to fourth position after finishing equal ninth at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland, picking up US$58,805 to raise his season’s tally to US$238,391.
Merit leader Kiradech, winner of the Maybank Malaysian Open in March, finished 44th to take his season’s earnings to US$679,999 as he stayed well ahead of the chasing pack who failed to narrow the gap at the top.
India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar, who finished joint 62nd over the weekend, remained a distant second with US$276,465. Bhullar will defend his title at this week’s US$500,000 Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Taipei.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand
“It’s nice to make a move on the Order of Merit and there are still several big events coming up and that can change,” said Thongchai, who was Asia’s number one in 2001, 2004 and 2009.
“I’ve not finalised my schedule for the rest of the season but I know I’m going to be very busy till the end of the year. I know I stand a good chance of winning my fourth Order of Merit title but I don’t want to think too far ahead.
“It’s nice to see Kiradech leading and actually, it doesn’t matter if I don’t win it. As long as a Thai boy wins, it’ll be good for golf in Thailand,” added the 43-year-old.
Players are also fighting to be inside the top-10 of the Order of Merit as of October 7 to qualify for the US$7 million CIMB Classic in Malaysia, which is co-sanctioned with the PGA Tour. The leading two players not otherwise exempt as of October 14 will also earn spots in the US$8.5 WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
India’s Shiv Kapur brightened his chances to feature in Malaysia with a tied 26th result at the Omega European Masters. He earned US$26,259 to jump from 11th to ninth position on the latest rankings with American Berry Henson sitting in 10th place.
“It’s an important goal for me to move into the top-10. My next tournament is going to be in Japan (Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open) and I want to get into the CIMB Classic as that has been one of my goals this year.
“I’ll be going to Japan and Taipei (Mercuries Taiwan Masters) and hopefully some really good results over there will see me through,” said Kapur.
Asian Tour Order of Merit Top-20
Pos Player Order of Merit (US$)
1. Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 679,999
2. Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 276,465
3. Scott HEND (AUS) 273,128
4. Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 238,391
5. LIANG Wen-chong (CHN) 185,383
6. BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR) 171,198
7. Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 148,085
8. Wade ORMSBY (AUS) 145,317
9. Shiv KAPUR (IND) 129,934
10. Berry HENSON (USA) 116,478
11. KIM Gi-whan (KOR) 115,108
12. Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 113,864
13. Pariya JUNHASAVASDIKUL (THA)  106,704
14. Rikard KARLBERG (SWE) 104,457
15. SIDDIKUR (BAN) 100,605
16. Angelo QUE (PHI) 91,155
17. Joonas GRANBERG (FIN) 86,437
18 Bryce EASTON (RSA) 86,159
19. Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 84,229
20. Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 81,627
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Canon (Official Imaging Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Subway (Official Quick Service Restaurant), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf