Asia gears up for big finish

This week’s Yeangder Tournament Players’ Championship in Taipei will mark a busy 11-week run on the Asian Tour.

This week’s Yeangder Tournament Players’ Championship in Taipei will mark a busy and lucrative 11-week run of events on the Asian Tour which culminates with the crowning of the region’s new number one player in December.

The staging of 12 tournaments over the next 11 weeks will be highlighted by two new Asian Tour tournaments – the CJ Invitational hosted by K.J. Choi and the season-ending Thailand Golf Championship, with prize funds of US$750,000 and US$1 million respectively.

The Asian Tour will also travel across the breadth of the region to Chinese Taipei, India, Korea, Malaysia, China, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Asian Tour Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han is anticipating a truly exciting period for the business-end of the season where at stake will be the prestigious Order of Merit crown, currently held by Korea’s Noh Seung-yul.

“I’m looking forward to an exciting three months starting with this week’s Yeangder Tournament Players’ Championship in Taipei. There is so much to play for which is great for our highly talented players and golf fans around the world. The Asian Tour brand has grown tremendously over the years and the staging of 12 tournaments in the next 11 weeks is further testament of the strong support from Corporate Asia,” said Han.

Tetsuji Hiratsuka of Japan currently leads the Order of Merit with US$435,817 but with multi-million dollar events coming up in quick succession, his position looks far from secure as the likes of S.S.P. Chowrasia of India, Jbe Kruger of South Africa and Siddikur of Bangladesh are all in the hunt to be Asia’s new number one.

Players on the opposite end of the Order of Merit will also face a gruelling test to retain their Tour cards through a top-60 finish on the rankings.

After a season which has thrown up five first-time winners in Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, Indians Himmat Rai and Anirban Lahiri, Berry Henson of the United States and Joonas Granberg of Finland , Han expects other worthy champions to emerge from the pack.

“Our talent pool is so deep these days that anyone can win on Tour,” said Han. “There are many upcoming young players who have gained immensely through the experience of competing at the highest level on the Asian Tour.

“The Asian Tour cultivates a strong playing platform where many stars such as Jeev Milkha Singh, Thongchai Jaidee and Noh Seung-yul have benefitted from over the years. There is no question that we will continue to unearth new and exciting champions,” said Han.

After the conclusion of the US$300,000 Yeangder Tournament Players’ Championship, the Tour heads to the Hero Indian Open which is offering a prize fund of US$1.25 million. The inaugural CJ Invitational hosted by K.J. Choi will be held soon after, followed by the US$6.1 million CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia which is jointly sanctioned with the PGA Tour in the last week of October.

November will see the WGC-HSBC Champions returning to China with a prize pot of US$7 million while the Mercuries Taiwan Masters, offering a record purse of US$600,000, will be held in the same first week of November.

The US$6 million Barclays Singapore Open, Asia’s richest national championship, will be held in the second week of November, followed by the US$2 million Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia and US$7.5 million Omega Mission Hills World Cup.

The US$2.75 million UBS Hong Kong Open, US$300,000 King’s Cup in Thailand and US$1 million Thailand Golf Championship, the Tour’s season finale, will be featured in December.

Asian Tour Schedule

Oct 6-9: Yeangder Tournament Players’ Championship (US$300,000)
Oct 13-16: Hero Indian Open (US$1,250,000)
Oct 20-23: CJ Invitational hosted by KJ Choi (US$750,000)
Oct 27-30: CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia (US$6,100,000)
Nov 3-6: WGC-HSBC Champions (US$7,000,000)
Nov 3-6: Mercuries Taiwan Masters (US$600,000)
Nov 10-13: Barclays Singapore Open (US$6,000,000)
Nov 17-20: Iskandar Johor Open (US$2,000,000)
Nov 24-27: Omega Mission Hills World Cup (US$7,500,000)
Dec 1-4: UBS Hong Kong Open (US$2,750,000)
Dec 8-11: King’s Cup (US$300,000)
Dec 15-18: (US$1,000,000)