Oom Race Set for Epic Finale

Sat 15 Dec 2012

Oom Race Set for Epic Finale

Nusajaya, Malaysia, December 15: The race for the prestigious Order of Merit crown will be decided over 18 holes as two shots separate Marcus Fraser and Thaworn Wiratchant following the second round of the weather-shortened US$2 million Iskandar Johor Open on Saturday.

Thaworn, a 15-time Asian Tour winner, posted a three-under-par 69 while Australia’s Fraser shot a 68 to hold a slender advantage over the Thai veteran at the season-ending Asian Tour event.

The duo will face-off in an intriguing battle in the final round of the Iskandar Johor Open, which was reduced to 54 holes due to numerous thunderstorm delays during the week at the Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club.

Despite trailing Thaworn by a mere US$25,000, Fraser played down his chances of winning the Order of Merit as he keeps his focussed on posting a solid result at the Iskandar Johor Open where he trails second round leader Daniel Chopra of Sweden by four shots.

“It doesn't really worry me too much. He (Thaworn) is such a good player so I want to concentrate on the tournament first. If any of us get a good result here, it will automatically determine who will win the Order of Merit,” said Fraser, who has four top-five results this season.

Thaworn, who won the Order of Merit in 2005, was feeling revitalized after an eight-hour sleep last night but conceded that the scale has tipped in favour of Fraser, who is aiming to become the first Australian to win the Merit accolade.

“He has a good short game. He is putting really well. I think he has a strong chance of winning. I was feeling tired last night but now I’m feeling better. We have to see what happens tomorrow,” said Thaworn, who leads the Order of Merit with earnings of US$677,606.

Fraser will tee off at 8.30am tomorrow while Thaworn will be off at 7.40am which will give the Australia a slight advantage of knowing what he would need to do coming down the stretch in the Merit battle.

Japanese rookie Masanori Kobayashi and Prom Meesawat of Thailand trail Chopra by four and five shots respectively and they have a mathematical chance of causing a surprise Order of Merit victory if they win this week and several results go their way.

On the other side spectrum, the chase for the 2013 Asian Tour tickets heats up as only four players from 48th to 66th position on the Order of Merit have missed the halfway cut which was set at one-under-par 143.

Should the standings stay the same, Boonchu, 48th on the Order of Merit, will be booted out from the top-60 as he missed the cut. Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka, currently 52nd, is likely to join him but has another 18 holes to fight for survival after making the final round.

As it stands, the players around the bubble are as follow:

Kalle Samooja (OOM 55th) -4 total

Kim Gi-whan (OOM 56th) -4 total

Prayad Marksaeng (OOM 57th) -3 total

Adam Blyth (OOM 59th) - Missed Cut

Chawalit Plaphol (OOM 60th) -3 total

Adam Groom (OOM 61st) -2 total

Lin Wen-tang (OOM 62nd) - Retired

Peter Karmis (OOM 63rd) -4 total

Joonas Granberg (OOM 64th) -6 total

Niall Turner (OOM 65th) - Missed Cut

Unho Park (OOM 66th) -8 total

Sam Cyr (OOM 67th) - Missed Cut

It promises to be an nervous finish to many players on Sunday.