Chan sets sight on big-money events

Mon 26 Sep 2016

Chan sets sight on big-money events

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Sentosa, Singapore, September 26: Chinese Taipei’s rising star Chan Shih-chang has jumped into fourth place on the latest Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, making himself a strong bet to earn debut appearances in the cash-rich CIMB Classic and WGC-HSBC Champions next month.
The 30-year-old Chan sensationally claimed a second victory of the season when he stormed from six shots back to win the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup in Japan on Sunday. His winner’s cheque of US$294,204 raised his season’s tally to US$443,657, which placed him only behind Merit leader Scott Hend of Australia, Marcus Fraser of Australia and Korea’s Jeunghun Wang, who missed the cut in Japan.
Scott Hend of Australia Still No. 1 .... Scott Hend of Australia
After the conclusion of the Venetian Macao Open next week, the leading 10 players on the Order of Merit will earn places in the US$7 million CIMB Classic from October 20 to 23 in Malaysia while the leading four players not otherwise exempt will tee up at the US$9.5 million HSBC Champions at the following week in China.
Sunday’s success was Chan’s second triumph in two months following his career breakthrough at the King’s Cup in Thailand in July. The slightly-built Chan fired a career low final round of eight-under-par 62 to triumph by two shots.
He almost did not tee up in Japan due to a domestic tournament but boarded the flight as he wanted to give himself every opportunity to qualify for the CIMB Classic, which is sanctioned by the PGA Tour and Asian Tour.
“This win will give me a lot of confidence. It will be a great boost for my career. This is my biggest win ever since I turned professional 10 years ago. From winning on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) to winning on the Asian Tour now, I think the biggest change is my mindset. I have grown to become a better player not just because of how I play but also how I think now. I used to get angry easily on the course. I guess it’s because I was still young. I don’t get angry anymore. The playing experiences helped,” said Chan.
Big-hitting Hend, who returns to action this week at the Shinhan Donghae Open in Korea, currently leads the Merit race with earnings of US$714,112, followed by Fraser on US$658,203. Wang is third with US$484,386.
There was disappointment for Thai teenager Phachara Khongwatmai, who held the second and third round lead before finishing tied fourth. He picked up a cheque of US$62,273 which pushed him up to 28th position on the Merit list. The current earnings should secure his full Asian Tour card for 2017.
Phachara Khongwatmai of ThailandChina’s Liang Wen-chong, Asia’s number one in 2007, believes the 17-year-old Phachara will eventually win a first title on the Asian Tour soon. “Players like Thongchai (Jaidee) and Kiradech (Aphibarnrat) have certainly helped boost the popularity of the game in the country and it's great to see a lot of young players coming out to play and even contending in big events. Phachara is very talented. He has a bright future and I'm sure his time will come,” said Liang.
Chan was also complimentary of the young Thai. “We were discussing about Phachara the other night. He came in as a sponsor's invite and we thought how good it would be if he were to win the tournament,” said Chan.
“And he's still so young. Phachara is my good friend. We have known each other from playing on the ADT. The kid is talented. It won't be long before he wins on the Asian Tour.”
Phachara, who made his Major debut at the British Open in July, took on board the positives after his close shave. “I am happy with my result and even happier to keep my card for next year,” said Phachara, who would have made it a sponsor’s dream by winning the Diamond Cup as his name translates to “diamond” in Thai.
This week, two tournaments will be played on the Asian Tour, the Shinhan Donghae Open in Korea and the Mercuries Taiwan Masters in Chinese Taipei.
Asian Tour Order of Merit – Top-20
Pos Player Order of Merit (US$)
1. Scott HEND (AUS) 714,112
2. Marcus FRASER (AUS) 658,203
3. Jeunghun WANG (KOR) 484,386
4. CHAN Shih-chang (TPE) 443,657
5. Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 354,176
6. Soomin LEE (KOR) 340,840
7. S.S.P. CHAWRASIA (IND) 316,017
8. Yuta IKEDA(JPN) 292,849
9. Younghan SONG (KOR) 253,457
10. Piya SWANGARUNPORN (THA) 202,080
11. Shaun NORRIS (RSA) 176,621
12. Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 162,320
13. K.T. KIM (KOR) 161,349
14. Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 153,920
15. Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 153,371
16. Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA) 148,120
17. Carlos PIGEM (ESP) 136,891
18. Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) 131,392
19. Angelo QUE (PHI) 130,034
20. Thitiphun CHUAYPRAKONG (THA) 129,088
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 ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), FENIX XCell (Official Apparel Supplier), Hilton Worldwide (Official Hotel Partner), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Sponsor), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official Business Publication Sponsor) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
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