Lin Over the Moon

Tue 23 Dec 2008

Lin Over the Moon


Sentosa, December 23: Lin Wen-tang was over the moon after becoming the first Chinese Taipei player in 20 years to earn a place in the prestigious Masters Tournament which will take place next April.

The Asian Tour standout moved up to 49th position on the final Official World Golf Ranking following his tied sixth finish at the season-ending Volvo Masters of Asia in Bangkok to seal his maiden Major appearance.

"I'm very happy. My friends told me that the last Chinese Taipei golfer to play at the Masters was over 20 years ago and I'm glad that I have earned my place. I've watched the Masters on TV for so many years, especially when I was growing up and I've always been in awe of Augusta National Golf Club. The greens are very undulating and I am looking forward to playing at the golf course," said Lin.

Chen Tze-chung, better known as T.C. Chen, was the last player from Chinese Taipei to feature at the Masters in 1989. A total of six players from Chinese Taipei, including Asian greats Hsieh Min-nan, Lu Liang-huan and Chen Ching-po, who played in six Masters, have competed in the year's opening Major with T.C. posting the best performance with a tied 12th outing in 1987.

Lin's rise into the world's top-50 was due to his career-best year on the Asian Tour where he finished second on the Order of Merit behind India's number one Jeev Milkha Singh, who will also play in his third Masters after ending the season in 35th place on the world rankings.

The 34-year-old Lin won twice, including the UBS Hong Kong Open last month, and posted seven other top-10s to earn US$844,735, only surpassed by Singh's new earnings record of US$1.45 million.

Lin will certainly speak to Chen about the Masters over the coming months. "TC was my hero when I was growing up. My wife doesn't quite like me going to America but I'm sure she won't mind me going to the Masters," said Lin, who has made attempts at the US PGA Tour qualifying school in the past.

"I've had a very good year. I have played on the Asian Tour for such a long time now but this year, it all clicked. Asian golf has a very high standard and there are so many players who can win tournaments. But this year, I had a good feeling and I was lucky to win twice," said Lin.

He hopes that his Masters appearance will rejuvenate professional golf in Chinese Taipei, which hosts only one Asian Tour event compared to three regular events previously.

"Not many sponsors are supporting professional golf in Taipei. But even with me playing at the Masters next year, I don't think it will spark great interest in the game. Maybe if I win the Masters, then it will change!" said Lin.

"We need hope for the ROC PGA to do some thing for the local golf scene. I will try my best."

Asian Tour Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han commended Lin for his great season. "Lin deserves his place in the world's top-50. He's enjoyed a terrific season with those two victories and I'm sure he will perform well at the Masters. Like Jeev, he will be a fine ambassador for the Asian Tour at Augusta National and it shows the growing stature of our players," said Han.

While Lin was ecstatic with his Masters appearance, there was heartbreak for Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng, who slipped from 49th to 52nd place in the world rankings.

Prayad, who played in his first Masters this year but withdrew in the second round with injury, was knocked out from the top-50 by Richard Sterne and Rory McIlroy who finished first and joint third respectively at the South African Open while Prayad finished equal 12th in Bangkok.


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 Carlsberg (Official Beer), ESPN Star Sports (Official Regional TV Broadcaster), Pin High (Official Apparel Partner), Ricoh (Official Office Solutions Provider), Sofitel (Official Hotel), TIME and FORTUNE (Corporate Partner) and Srixon (Official Ball). Sentosa, Singapore's premier island resort getaway, is the Home of the Asian Tour.