Battle for Tour cards looms at King's Cup

Mon 13 Jan 2014

Battle for Tour cards looms at King's Cup

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Hua Hin, Thailand, January 13: A host of Asian Tour hopefuls will have a survival battle on their hands when they tee up at the US$1 million King's Cup Golf Hua Hin at the Black Mountain Golf Club which starts on Thursday.
With the prestigious Asian Tour Order of Merit title already won by Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, all eyes will be on the Tour hopefuls seeking to finish in the top-60 of the final Order of Merit to earn full playing rights for the 2014 season.
It will be a fight to the end for many of the region's players who are languishing on the wrong end of the rankings at the King’s Cup Golf Hua Hin, which will be the final tournament of the 2013 season.
The King’s Cup will offer the last opportunity for players to salvage their season as US$180,000 will be offered to the champion at one of Thailand’s most prestigious sporting events which recently inked a five-year agreement with the Asian Tour.
Thailand’s Thitiphun Chuayprakong is among the players on the bubble. The 21-year-old remains a strong contender to retain his full playing rights if he can display the form that earned him rave reviews from the likes of England’s Lee Westwood and South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel after his performances in Indonesia, Thailand and Macau in recent years.
“I know I’m in a dangerous position on the rankings but I’ve confidence that I’ll do well. If I can play to the best of my abilities, I should be okay,” said Thitiphun, who is in 65th place on the Order of Merit.
Having lost out on his full playing status last season, Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing, who is in 66th place on the rankings, will also be hoping to redeem himself as the 2013 season draws to a close.
The Singaporean showed glimpses of his form which led him to his lone Asian Tour victory in 2008 when he battled into contention at the Panasonic Open India only to finish in third place last April.
The 37-year-old will be determined to reproduce his winning form and play his way back into the safety zone at the Black Mountain Golf Club.
“I would have liked to play a lot better this season but was let down on several occasions. There were several positives though, especially my result in India earlier in the year,” said Lam.
“I can only do my best and hopefully the result will take care of itself,” added the Singaporean.
China’s Hu Mu, who missed out on his Tour card at Qualifying School in February last year by the slimmest of margins, will also be hoping to avoid a similar agony where he is currently 64th on the Merit list.
The Chinese made the most of his limited playing opportunities on the region’s premier Tour by making the cut in six of the 10 events he had played in during the 2013 season. Hu’s best result was a fourth place finish at the Chiangmai Golf Classic presented by PTT and he will be looking for a similar showing in Thailand to haul himself into the safety zone.
Australia’s Adam Groom, currently 60th on the rankings, will endure another nervy finish to his season as he has been involved in the fight for survival in recent years.
For the first time ever, the King’s Cup will be broadcast live, over four rounds on the Asian Tour’s global television platform which reaches over 180 countries and 640 million homes, ensuring extensive worldwide exposure for the popular beach resort town of Hua Hin, sponsors, and the Kingdom of Thailand itself.
About the Asian Tour
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), Inetol Headwear (Official Sponsor), 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.