omegaThe best players from the Asian Tour will be back in action when they take on their European Tour rivals at the Omega European Masters next week.

The Omega European Masters, which is the only event on European soil to be co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour, marks the start of the second half of the Asian Tour season where many of the region’s finest golfers will resume their Order of Merit title chase.

India’s Anirban Lahiri leads the money rankings following one victory and three top-10s on the region’s premier Tour.

Lahiri, who was named as the recipient of the  prestigious Arjuna Award which is India’s second highest sporting honour this week, is expected to put up a performance befitting of his status as one of Asia’s rising stars.

“Winning the Asian Tour Order of Merit has always been one of my goals for this season. I’m glad I’ve put myself in a good position to achieve that with several good results so far,” said Lahiri.

With the pressure of winning his first title abroad finally off his shoulders after his dramatic triumph in Indonesia in April, the four-time Asian Tour winner is hopeful of following in the footsteps of compatriot Jeev Milkha Singh in winning on European soil.

“It was great to have my first win outside of India when I won in Indonesia. The pressure’s off and I just have to keep focusing on playing good golf and keep getting better as the year progresses,” said the 27-year-old Indian.

Thailand’s Arnond Vongvanij, meanwhile, is looking forward to improve his performance after his debut appearance at the Omega European Masters last year saw him miss the cut by three shots.

“It will be my second time going to Crans. I feel more comfortable this time around. Having gained the experience from last year, I feel more comfortable now as I know what to expect,” said Arnond.

The slightly built Thai came close to winning his second Asian Tour title in the Philippines in May but settled for a share of second place.

With an eye on his merit ranking, the well-rested Arnond is raring to get back into action at the Omega European Masters.

“I’m happy with how I’ve done so far this season but I still hope to better my ranking on the Order of Merit.

“I took some time off during the break. I had a good rest and I’ve been practicing a lot since a month ago back home. I’m really looking forward to the second half of the season,” said Arnond.

Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman will also be in action as he tees up alongside Filipino ace Angelo Que, Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg and Korea’s Baek Seuk-hyun at the Omega European Masters.

Charismatic Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, the European Tour’s oldest winner and holder of 21 titles which includes a win in Switzerland in 2010, will headline the European Tour’s challenge alongside Wales’ Jamie Donaldson, Italian Matteo Manassero and French star Victor Dubuisson.

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