The region’s aspiring golfers will be looking to stamp their marks on the burgeoning Asian Development Tour (ADT) when the brand new 2015 season gets underway with the RM200,000 (approx. US$60,000) PGM Sime Darby Harvard Championship on Wednesday.
The season-opening event will be played at the Harvard Golf and Country Club for the third consecutive year and features an international mix of players from 18 countries which include former ADT champions American Brett Munson, England’s Grant Jackson, Filipino Rufino Bayron and Japanese duo Mitsuhiko Hashizume and Masaru Takahashi.
Qualifying School standouts Lindsay Renolds of Canada, Ryosuke Kinoshita of Japan and Thailand’s Nitithorn Thippong, who successfully earned their Tour cards for the 2015 Asian Tour season, will also feature in the PGM Sime Darby Harvard Championship.
2013 ADT Order of Merit champion Nicholas Fung will spearhead the local charge alongside Danny Chia and Arie Irawan.
Fung is thankful for the playing experiences on the ADT which has provided him with the extra edge when he bid for success on the region’s premier Tour.
“I am trying out new golf clubs so I don’t expect my game to be in top form for now but I do hope this tournament will be a good warm-up for me before next week’s Maybank Malaysian Open.
“I’m pretty satisfied with how I played on the main Tour last season. I managed to retain my Tour card. My target is to finish inside top-15 on the Asian Tour Order of Merit this season. I don’t want to think about winning. I just want to focus on getting a good score. Hopefully that will drive me to do better and improve on my game,” said the 24-year-old Malaysian.
“I will try and play as much as I can on the ADT because it allows me to practise and sharpen my game. Also, I want to grab the world ranking points on offer. It is crucial because I need that to get into the Olympic Games next year,” added Fung.
The winner of the PGM Sime Darby Harvard Championship will take home US$10,650 and earn six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points.
All players who have played in the 2015 Qualifying School presented by Sports Authority of Thailand this month are eligible to play on the ADT in the new season.
Since it was inaugurated in 2010, the ADT has grown from five events in the first year to a record 21 tournaments in 2014.
The ADT will continue to reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2016.
With the Olympic Games looming in 2016 where golf will be reintroduced as a medal sport, players in the region could earn their spots in Rio de Janeiro by earning Official World Golf Ranking points through the Asian Tour and ADT.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com