taiwanDanny Chia of Malaysia is looking forward to defend his Mercuries Taiwan Masters title against a strong line-up of stars including five former champions in two weeks’ time.

Chia ended a 13-year title drought when he defeated China’s Liang Wen-chong by two shots last year. He will return to the scene of his second Asian Tour victory at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club from September 29 to October 2.

He will be joined by past winners Steve Lewton, Lin Wen-tang, Tsai Chi-huang, Lu Wen-teh and Lu Wei-chih, who won the prestigious event in 2005 and 2011.

Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh and Filipino duo Miguel Tabuena and Antonio Lascuna, who have all come close to winning the Mercuries Taiwan Masters, will also feature in the Asian Tour event which will offer a record prize purse of US$800,000.

Chia’s career has been on the upswing since winning the Mercuries Taiwan Masters nearly 12 months ago which helped him finish a career high eighth place on the 2015 Asian Tour Order of Merit.

He qualified for the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and WGC-HSBC Champions in China and contributed one point for Team Asia in the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM against Team Europe earlier this year. Last month he also represented his country at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“I’m excited to return to the Mercuries Taiwan Masters and I look forward to defending my title,” said the 43-year-old. “Chinese Taipei has been kind to me as I also won my first Asian Tour title there.

“I played really well last year and I felt that I was getting closer to a victory and I finally did it at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters. The event will kick start a series of Asian Tour tournaments so I hope to do well and carry the momentum towards the end of the season,” added Chia.

With three top-10s including a runner-up result in 2010 at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters, Siddikur hopes he can finally cross the finish line and land his third Asian Tour title.

Representing his country and becoming the flag bearer in the opening ceremony of the Olympics have given Siddikur an extra spring in his step as well.

“I’m putting in some good training and my game is good even though the numbers haven’t showed in recent weeks. I’m confident of returning to the Mercuries Taiwan Masters. It is one of my favourite events so hopefully I can get another good result,” said Siddikur.

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