American Casey O’Toole capped a brilliant year on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) by winning the Order of Merit following the conclusion of the 2015 season at the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship on Sunday.
Despite missing the cut at the season finale, O’Toole’s exploits on the ADT were enough to see him become the second American after Jonathan Moore in 2011 to win the Merit title on the region’s secondary Tour.
The 25-year-old, playing in his second year in Asia, notched one victory and nine top-10s to earn US$55,286 while two-time ADT winner Hsieh Chi-hsien of Chinese Taipei settled for second place with total earnings of US$43,357.
New Zealander Sean Riordan and Jordan Sherratt of Australia finished third and fourth with respective earnings of US$40,781 and US$39,556 while young Thai talent Phachara Khongwatmai, who won last weekend, grabbed the fifth and final 2016 Asian Tour card available through the ADT rankings.
Phachara’s season tally of US$36,678 was US$293 more than Masaru Takahashi of Japan, who agonizingly missed out on his Asian Tour after slipping to sixth position. Malaysia’s Arie Irawan, who won twice this season, finished seventh.
O’Toole, who turned professional two years ago, was delighted to finish on top of the ADT rankings.
“Winning the Order of Merit means a lot to me. I was pretty disappointed after missing out at Qualifying School, so to earn my card through the ADT is pretty cool. Topping the money list makes it even more special,” said O’Toole.
“Playing on the ADT has helped improved my game a lot. Every phase of my game has progressed so much in the last two years. We have so many tournaments through the year that it really gives all of us a chance to improve and learn. I am very thankful for all of the sponsors and staff who have helped boost so many careers through the ADT.”
While he basked in the joy of capping a successful season, O’Toole did not forget thank the people who have supported him in his chase for glory.
“I want to thank my family and my mentor, Iain Steel, for constantly pushing me to achieve more in my game. Because of him, I was able to keep myself in the moment and stay focused on my tasks at hand. I really appreciate that. I took everything he said to heart because I respect him and everything he has achieved in his career,” said O’Toole.
“I would also like to thank my friend Guice Potter at Inverness Golf and Repair in Birmingham. He is my biggest fan and supporter. I talk to him each and every week and he is just so encouraging. It really means a lot to win this and share this glory with him and all the guys back home.”
Reflecting on his banner season, O’Toole said his biggest thrill was when he secured his maiden win in Malacca last month, which came after several near-misses.
“My most memorable moment has got to be when I won the ADT in November. I had come so close for so many times and to finally get my first professional win was pretty special. It’s something I’ll never forget,” O’Toole said.
The ADT, which was launched with five events in 2010, concluded its sixth season with a record 28 tournaments. A total of 18 tournaments has so far been confirmed for the 2016 with several more to be announced in due course.
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