Asian Development Tour (ADT) aspirants will return to chase for top honours at the PGM Panasonic Malaysia Championship which gets underway at the Kelab Rahman Putra on Wednesday.
A total of 24 ADT champions, including Australian Martin Dive, American John Catlin, Thailand’s Panuwat Muenlek (pix) and George Gandranata of Indonesia, will feature in the RM250,000 (approximately US$55,000) event, second leg of the ADT schedule this season.
Arie Irawan, a two-time winner on the secondary circuit, will spearhead the 57-man local charge alongside Rizal Amin, Wilson Choo and Khor Kheng Hwai, who claimed his second victory on the domestic circuit a fortnight ago after prevailing on the fourth play-off hole.
There will be an additional bonus for the local players to fight for as the leading Malaysian, not otherwise exempt, will receive an invitation to participate in the Panasonic Open Japan, a tournament sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour, from April 20 to 23.
Dive, who won the ADT season-opener in Malaysia last month, is determined to build on his strong start to the season and worked his way onto the region’s premier Tour where he had failed to make it through the Qualifying School earlier in January.
“It was my first international title and you can’t get off to a better start in the season. Two more wins can get me on the bigger Tour and I’m aiming for that. It won’t be easy but I’m halfway there,” said the 31-year-old Australian.
Singapore’s Koh Deng Shan, who enjoyed a commendable outing at the Maybank Championship last week, hopes to bank on his positive vibes as he targets a breakthrough win on the ADT.
“I really enjoyed myself last week. It was a really good experience and a huge confidence booster for me. Hopefully I can continue to ride on that good form this week,” said Koh, who finished tied-64th in the US$3 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
Other notable players in the field include Scott Barr of Australia, Hsieh Chi-hsien of Chinese Taipei, Singapore’s Quincy Quek, Liu Yan-wei of China and 18-year-old Suradit Yongcharoenchai of Thailand.
The winner of the PGM Panasonic Malaysia Championship will take home a winner’s prize purse of about US$9,500 and receive six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points.
Like all other ADT events, the tournament will also offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points to the top six players and ties based on a sliding scale.
The ADT, which is celebrating its seventh season this year, will continue to reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2018.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com