Thaworn Edges Closer Towards Date With Merit Destiny

Sun 02 Dec 2012

Thaworn Edges Closer Towards Date With Merit Destiny

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Kuala Lumpur, December 3: Thaworn Wiratchant took another giant step towards his date with destiny when he regained top spot on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit with a fourth runner-up finish in a spectacular season which already includes three victories.


The veteran Thai star settled for tied second place in the King’s Cup on home soil where a cheque of US$42,375 took his season’s earnings to US$670,506, pushing him some US$18,000 past previous leader Marcus Fraser of Australia.


With two more events – this week’s US$1 million Thailand Golf Championship and US$2 million Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia - remaining before the curtains come down on the 2012 season, the 45-year-old Thaworn is now odds-on favourite to become the oldest Order of Merit champion.


Fraser, who was competing on the PGA Tour’s Qualifying School Finals, is skipping this week’s event as well and has yet to confirm his entry for the season finale in Malaysia from December 13-16.


Third-ranked Jbe Kruger of South Africa (US$453,588) and fourth-ranked Indian Gaganjeet Bhullar (US$422,925) are still in the running to topple Thaworn but the duo need big finishes in the last two tournaments.


But with the form that Thaworn has been in this season, few would bet against him from lifting a second Order of Merit crown following his first triumph in 2005, the year he won four titles.


After finishing two shots behind compatriot Arnond Vongvanij in the King’s Cup, Thaworn believes he has a clear sight of the finish line. “I’m beginning to believe that I can win the Order of Merit for the second time,” said the Thai, who holds a record 15 Asian Tour victories.


“There’re still two more events to play and I’m confident of doing well. Winning the Order of Merit again is definitely going to be a big achievement as it shows that age is not barrier to success,” added Thaworn, who won the Queen’s Cup, Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters and Hero Indian Open this year.


He is still taking it one step at a time and knows that a strong showing at the Thailand Golf Championship, which has attracted eight players from the world’s top-50 including title holder Lee Westwood, Major champions Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel and Ryder Cup stars Sergio Garcia and Nicholas Colsaerts, Thaworn knows he has plenty of work to do to maintain his Merit lead.


 


“I just need to do well again at Amata Spring next week,” said Thaworn, who finished tied 19th in the inaugural event last year. “The course favours long hitters and it’ll be a challenge for me as I’m not one of the biggest hitters on Tour. But we’ll see. With my form, I’m capable of a good result anytime,” he added.


At the opposite end of the rankings, the fight for top-60 finishes, which guarantees full playing rights in 2013, is intensifying with Chinese Taipei star Lin Wen-tang sitting on the bubble after finishing tied 22nd in the King’s Cup.


“I'm very pleased with how I've played this week. I enjoy the feeling of being back in contention and challenging for the title. Although I didn't win, it's okay as I gave my best and that is all I can really ask for,” he said.


“I have never lost my Tour card since 2003 and I don’t believe I’ll miss out on my full status this year. I always enjoy coming to Thailand as we have lots of friends here. There’s a saying that goes when you are at home, you have your family but when you are away, you can always count on your friends. I guess that’s why I’m getting the results here in Thailand as well. Hopefully I’ll do well again at the Thailand Golf Championship,” added Lin.


One of the highlights of the week was when Thailand’s 56-year-old Boonchu Ruangkit broke into the top-60 by finishing tied sixth in the King’s Cup, moving up 15 rungs to 54th position with US$57,532. He will be the oldest full card holder if he maintain his position in the top-60 by the end of next week.


Asian Tour Order of Merit – Top-20


Pos Player Earnings (US$)


1. Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 670,506


2. Marcus FRASER (AUS) 652,344


3. Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 453,588


4. Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 422,925


5. Masanori KOBAYASHI (JPN) 400,289


6. Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 347,550


7. Shiv KAPUR (IND) 309,575


8. David LIPSKY (USA) 278,097


9. Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 258,287


10. Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 255,231


11. Felipe AGUILAR (CHI) 254,141


12. Scott HEND (AUS) 227,759


13. SIDDIKUR (BAN) 217,942


14. Mardan MAMAT (SIN) 215,881


15. Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 205,881


16. Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 193,236


17. Adilson DA SILVA (BRA) 183,751


18. Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 179,168


19. Berry HENSON (USA) 168,836


20. Scott BARR (AUS) 167,439


 


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 Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner), Cityneon (Official Event Overlay Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.