Asian Development Tour (ADT) hopefuls will step up their chase for one of the five coveted 2016 Asian Tour cards when the burgeoning Tour enters the final quarter of the season at the PGM Kinrara Championship starting from Wednesday.
The top-five finishers on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for 2016 while a trip to the Asian Tour Qualifying School potentially awaits those who finish outside the cut-off mark.
With five tournaments left to play till the end of the season, players will have everything to play for when they head to the Kinrara Golf Club for the RM200,000 (approximately US$50,000) event, which is the 23rd leg of the ADT schedule this season.
ADT hotshot Arie Irawan, placed fourth on the money list following two victories this season, will spearhead the local charge alongside Gavin Green, who won on the ADT as an amateur last season, one-time ADT winner Rizal Amin and old hand R. Nachimuthu.
Order of Merit leader Casey O’Toole of the United States will lead the international field which includes compatriot Blake Snyder, New Zealander Sean Riordan, Michael Tran of Vietnam, Nirun Sae-Ueng and Thammanoon Sriroj of Thailand.
Other likely contenders include Janne Kaske of Finland, Panuwat Muenlek of Thailand, Japan’s Masaru Takahashi as well as local duo Kenneth De Silva and Khor Kheng Hwai.
Ranked sixth on the current Order of Merit, Masaru is trying to keep it cool in his hopes to earn playing rights on the Asian Tour next season. With nine top-10s this year, he believes another top-10 finish at the Kinrara Golf Club would help him break into top five and earn his ticket.
“I am happy with my season so far. I played well and I have been really consistent in my game. I have gained a lot of experience playing on the ADT. It is a good platform for me to hone my skills,” said the 29-year-old Japanese.
“I will try my best to get another good result this week. Hopefully I can break into top-five on the Order of Merit and try to progress onto the Asian Tour next season,” added Masaru, who claimed his maiden ADT victory in 2013.
Thammanoon, who propelled to 10th place on the Order of Merit following his long-awaited victory at the Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship last month, plans to keep this foot on the pedal as he takes aim at working his way back onto the main Tour with another victory.
“I have gained a lot of confidence after winning in Chinese Taipei last month. I have waited so long for that win. It was really comforting to know that I still have the game to compete against the younger players today,” said the 46-year-old Thai, a five-time winner on the Asian Tour but not since 2004.
“My aim is to try and work my way back onto the Asian Tour by finishing top-five on the ADT Order of Merit. My game is feeling good right now so hopefully a good result this week will get me closer,” added Thammanoon, who trails Australian Jake Stirling, placed fifth on the money list, by about US$4,000.
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.
The ADT is celebrating its sixth season where it has grown immensely from five events in the first year in 2010 to a record 27 tournaments in 2015.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com