MTM: The Contenders

Wed 01 Oct 2014

MTM: The Contenders

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Chinese Taipei, October 1: The Asian Tour returns to Chinese Taipei for the long-running US$650,000 Mercuries Taiwan Masters this week where an international mix of players from 18 countries will battle for world ranking points and the winner’s purse of US$130,000. AsianTour.com takes a look at the big guns who are likely to contend this week.
SCOTT HEND (AUS)
Hend is one of the most successful international players on the Asian Tour. He had claimed a total of three victories on the Asian Tour in 2013 which led him to a second-place finish on the Order of Merit, marking his career’s best result. Hend is the defending champion for this week’s Mercuries Taiwan Masters. He had overcome the treacherous conditions caused by Typhoon Fitow last year to win his fourth Asian Tour title by four shots.
Asian Tour Order of Merit: 29th
KIRADECH APHIBARNRAT (THA)
Kiradech is the Asian Tour Order of Merit champion for 2013. He shrugged off a six-week injury lay-off  to claim a runner-up finish in Japan last week, marking his best result so far this season. The result also propelled him to eighth on the current Order of Merit. Although he has not fully recovered from the persistent knee injury, the talented Thai is determined to put up another good showing this week to put himself in firm position to qualify for the upcoming CIMB Classic and WGC-HSBC Champions.
Asian Tour Order of Merit: 8th
THAWORN WIRATCHANT (THA)
Thaworn is a two-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner. He claimed his unprecedented 17th title at the Queen’s Cup held in Koh Samui in June. The Thai veteran claimed three victories in 2012 to become the oldest Order of Merit champion at the age of 45 years and 354 days on the Asian Tour. This week, he will be looking to boost his current ranking on the merit list where he is currently in 14th place after a season’s haul of $96,254.
Asian Tour Order of Merit: 14th
BAEK SEUK-HYUN (KOR)
Baek is one of the most consistent players on the Asian Tour but is still without a victory. He was denied a win at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters by one shot. He claimed two other top-fives at the Queen’s Cup in June and the Asia-Pacific Open Golf Championship Diamond Cup in Japan last week.  He continues his hunt for a maiden victory and is tipped to shine at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters.
Order of Merit: 7th
LIN WEN-TANG (TPE)
Lin is Chinese Taipei’s most successful player on the Asian Tour as he holds six titles. His best result on the Asian Tour in 2014 was a tied-fifth finish at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters in May. He was victorious on the Asian Development Tour and claimed another victory on the domestic circuit. Lin had won the Mercuries Taiwan Masters in 2009.
Order of Merit: 47th
CHAN SHIH-CHANG (TPE)
Chan will be the dark horse this week. He won three Asian Development Tour titles this year to lead on the Order of Merit which earned him playing rights for the remainder of the 2014 Asian Tour season. He is also one of the most consistent players in Chinese Taipei where he won winning three titles on the local circuit.
Order of Merit: 82nd
ANTONIO LASCUNA (PHI)
Lascuna is one of the most experienced players on the Asian Tour, having played a total of 138 events but still without a win. He had claimed three consecutive victories on home soil, including a maiden win on the Asian Development Tour this season. He had agonizingly missed out on his maiden win at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters in Malaysia two weeks ago when he lost to Thailand’s Chapchai Nirat in the playoff.
Asian Tour Order of Merit: 4th
PROM MEESAWAT (THA)
Prom captured his long-awaited second victory on the Asian Tour when he defeated Filipino Miguel Tabuena in a play-off at the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship held in Chinese Taipei last month. The Thai, who is nicknamed the Big Dolphin due to his burly physique and because he hails from the coastal town of Hua Hin, will be looking to complete a double victory in Chinese Taipei as he challenge for the title this week.
Asian Tour Order of Merit: 6th
CAMERON SMITH (AUS)
Playing in his rookie year on the Asian Tour, Smith claimed a runner-up finish in what only his second tournament on the Asian Tour at the CIMB Niaga Indonesia Masters in April. He claimed another three consecutive top-10s prior to this week’s Mercuries Taiwan Masters.
Asian Tour Order of Merit: 11th
Ends.