Fraser Set for Epic Showdown

Tue 11 Dec 2012

Fraser Set for Epic Showdown

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Nusajaya, Johor, Malaysia, December 11: Australia’s Marcus Fraser is ready to put up a strong challenge and become the first Australian to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit title when the US$2million Iskandar Johor Open tees off on Thursday.
Fraser, who is second on the rankings, trails Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant by slightly over US$25,000, and is expecting the merit race to go down the wire at the Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club.
“It’s a fairly close fight between Thaworn and myself but there’re still probably four or five guys out there who still have a chance of winning the Order of Merit. It’s going to be a pretty exciting week for sure,” said Fraser.
After enjoying four top-five finishes on the Asian Tour this season, Fraser is setting his sights on wrapping up a sensational season with a win at the Iskandar Johor Open.
“It’ll be a huge achievement if I become the first Australian to win the Order of Merit title. I love playing in Asia and I’ve got lots of good friends that play on the Asian Tour. It’s good fun coming up to these events and to be able to have the chance of possibly win the Order of Merit this week is something that I look forward to,” said the 34-year-old Australian.
South Africa’s Jbe Kruger could have narrowed the gap at the top with a good finish at the Thailand Golf Championship last week but was left disappointed after he closed with a 75 to finish tied-28th.
“It was unfortunate that I didn’t get the result that I wanted last week,” said Kruger of his performance at the Thailand Golf Championship which earned the highest Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points anywhere around the world, surpassing the Australian Open and Nelson Mandela Championship last week.
Kruger, who is currently lying in third place on the Order of Merit, however believes he still has a chance to pip Thaworn and Fraser to the prestigious crown.
“I’ll have to win this week in order to win the Order of Merit. But it’s definitely not out of my hands as I still have a chance. There will be pressure, no doubt and I just have to learn to manage it to the best of my abilities,” said Kruger.
“I’ve been knocking on the doors for a couple of seasons and it was nice to finally win in India (Avantha Masters). As I said after my win then, I want to win again and that’s the goal that I’ve been working towards,” added Kruger.
With the presence of Major champions like Ernie Els, Michael Campbell and John Daly teeing up at the Asian Tour’s season-ending event, Kruger is confident that he can stand tall against anyone of the them.
“I’ve proven that I can match up against the best players. I’ve very good self-belief and I can beat anybody on my day,” said Kruger.
India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar is also determined to win the Order of Merit title as he knows a win will unlock the doors for the next generation of golfers to emerge from India.
“If I go on to win the Order of Merit, how many more Indians you think will go on to take up golf. It was what Jeev used to do 10 years ago when I was a little kid and I used to follow him. Now the next generation of golfers from India will be getting ready,” said Bhullar.
India holds the distinction of having produced the most number of Merit champions with Jyoti Randhawa became the country’s first Asian number one in 2002 followed by Arjun Atwal in 2003 before Jeev Milkha Singh secured a double with wins in 2006 and 2008.
It is a proud record that Bhullar hopes to add his name to.
“My confidence level has definitely gone up and I think once I get off to a good start, it’ll be hard for anyone to catch up with me,” said Bhullar.
The Iskandar Johor Open is presented by Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd, which is a government-linked company specifically incorporated to take on the role of master developer of prime waterfront properties in Johor Bahru.
About Iskandar Waterfront Holdings SDN BHD (IWH):
IWH is a government-linked company that was specifically incorporated to serve as the master developer of over 3,000-acres of prime waterfront land in Johor Bahru. The crown in the jewel of this integrated development will be Danga Bay. The master plan envisages six other components – The Gateway comprising two identical 34-storey residential blocks linked at the top by a skywalk; a landscaped riverside development known as The Venice; Danga Heights, which is set become Johor Bahru’s newest uptown lifestyle address; a high-end mixed development called Tebrau Coast on the eastern corridor of Johor Bahru; and JB Tanjung Puteri Waterfront, a commercial mixed development straddling both sides of the Causeway to Singapore. IWH is also developing a Marina & Beach Resort @ Desaru.
About The Iskandar Johor Open
The Iskandar Johor Open is one of the fastest-growing tournaments on the Asian Tour, and has attracted some of the best golfers in the world. The event was successfully staged at the Royal Johor Country Club for the first three years, and at Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club in 2010 and 2011.
It returns to Johor for the sixth time at Horizon Hills, where once again golf fans will be able to witness yet another exciting golf tournament which is staking its claim as one of the top events on the Asian Tour calendar.
Iskandar Malaysia and Johor Golf Association are continuing with their support of this event, and have created the biggest international event in Johor. Since the inaugural event in 2007, the prize money for the tournament has increased by five-fold from US$300,000 in 2007 to US$1,250,000 in 2010. In 2011, the prize money grew to a minimum of US$2,000,000 and will remain for 2012.
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 Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts), Cityneon (Official Event Overlay Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), BlackBerry (Official Smartphone and Tablet Partner) and Srixon (Official Ball). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
About IMG Sports & Entertainment
Operating in 30 countries, IMG Sports & Entertainment’s diverse businesses include: consulting services; event ownership and management; fashion events and models representation; licensing; golf course design; and client representation in golf, tennis, broadcasting, speakers, European football, rugby, cricket, motor sports, coaching, Olympic and action sports. IMG Academies are the world’s largest, multi-sport training and educational facilities, delivering world-class training experiences to more than 12,000 junior, collegiate, adult, and professional athletes each year.
More information about IMG is available at www.imgworld.com