Bubble boys fight for survival in Dubai finale

Tue 16 Dec 2014

Bubble boys fight for survival in Dubai finale

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Dubai, December 16:  The boys within the top-60 bubble of the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit are feeling the heat as the 2014 season comes to a close at this week’s inaugural Dubai Open starting on Thursday.
Finish inside the top-60 and the reward would be a full Tour card in 2015 which includes opportunities to compete in the co-sanctioned events with the European Tour while a trip to Qualifying School potentially awaits those who fall below the cut-off mark.
George Gandranata of Indonesia George Gandranata of Indonesia
Young Thai Rattanon Wannasrichan, currently ranked 59th on the Merit list, is trying to keep it cool in his hopes to earn full playing rights for next season. With four top-20s this year, he believes another top-20 finish at the Els Club Dubai would help him earn his ticket.
“I’ll try to play my best and stick to my game plan. There’s no pressure at all. I’ll aim to finish top-20 which should be safe enough for me. I’m feeling good about my game. Last week, I didn’t allow any pressure to get to me although I missed the cut in Thailand,” said the 19-year-old.
“I’ll be thinking about hitting it shot by shot this week. I didn’t start the season too well but towards the second half, it has definitely got better. I worked on my driving and it has been much better now. It will be important to drive it well here as it’s a challenging golf course.”
Indonesian prospect George Gandranata, lying in 63rd place on the ranking, is hoping to give it one final push to break the top-60 barrier. He said: “Well, it comes down to this week but I’m going to treat it like any other tournament and see how it goes. I didn’t have a good week last week in Thailand where I missed the cut but it gave me a chance to work on my swing. The ball striking and putting have been good the last few months, so hopefully it will be good again this week.
“The pressure is always there, no matter where you have to finish. It’s still golf and you have to take it one shot at a time and not think too far ahead. I just have to put myself in position on Sunday to ensure that I get a card.”
Mo Joong-kyung of Korea Mo Joong-kyung of Korea
Old hand Mo Joong-kyung of Korea, who is a two-time winner on the Asian Tour but languishing in 64th place, admits that the strain of chasing his full card is starting to wear him down.
“I’ll try to play good for a change. My morale is a bit down,” said the 43-year-old Mo.
“I hurt my knee at the beginning of the season and because of that, I had to change my swing a bit. I’m trying to adjust to it and it’s a work in progress. Of course I’m paying attention to the rankings. If I play good, it will take care of itself. You’ve got to pay attention to it and see what happens. But once the tournament starts, I can’t think of anything else. I’ve got to concentrate on every shot and hit the best shot that I can hit.”
Another Thai, Namchoak Thantipokakul is also fighting for his survival where he has not lost his Tour card in the past four seasons. The 27-year-old believes it will be mind over matter when he tees up on Thursday.
“The game is feeling okay. But mentally, it’s not very good. I’m thinking too much when I’m playing. Sometimes I think negatively that I can’t make birdie,” said the stocky Thai.
“I’m 61st on the Order of Merit, but I think I can get into the top-60. I will aim to make the cut first and then move up. I’ve not been able to score this season. Driving it good and hitting my irons good but my putting has not been good.
“The short game has not been good as well. I’m going to ask Prom Meesawat to give me some tips to try to fix my short game and putting.”
The Dubai Open, which offers a prize fund of US$500,00, is promoted and organised by golf in DUBAi.
The Els Club Dubai is situated within the sprawling Dubai Sports City where the par-72 course combines links style golf with traditional 'classical era' design. Opened for play in 2008, the course stretches 7,538 yards and was named as ‘Best New International Course’ by prestigious US magazine, Links, and “Best New Facility of the Year” by Troon Golf.
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 Headwear Sponsor), Oakley (Official Eyewear and Footwear Sponsor), PRG (Official Accessories Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Srixon (Official Ball), Titleist (Official Web Partner) 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.