Young talent Itthipat Buranatanyarat will aim to tighten his grip on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit by putting on a commendable performance at the PGM LADA Langkawi Championship starting Wednesday.
The 22-year-old Thai, who claimed his second ADT victory at the season-opening Players’ Championship in Singapore two months ago, leads second-placed Shunya Takeyasu of Japan by a mere US$2,468 in the race to become the new ADT Order of Merit champion.
There will be plenty to shoot for when the RM200,000 (approximately US$46,600) event gets underway at the Gunung Raya Golf Resorts as players get another opportunity to earn Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points, which is key to qualify for the Olympic Games this August.
Itthipat, playing in only his third ADT event this season, hopes he will be rewarded with a third ADT title after improving on his fitness.
“I have been working a lot on my fitness for the past three weeks. It is important to keep your body strength at a certain level when you play tournaments. This is my first time going to Langkawi and I am very excited!
“Winning the Players’ Championship in Singapore definitely boosted my confidence. Now that I am in a favourable position on the Merit rankings, the aim is also to win the Order of Merit at the end of the season. That is why I have been training hard on my fitness,” said Itthipat.
Itthipat will contend for the PGM LADA Langkawi Championship alongside compatriot Nirun Sae-ueng and American duo Josh Salah and John Michael O’Toole, who secured his breakthrough ADT victory in Malaysia a fortnight ago.
They will face off against a strong local challenge spearheaded by two-time Asian Tour winner Danny Chia, 2013 ADT Order of Merit champion Nicholas Fung, Gavin Green, Ben Leong and Wilson Choo, who won the PGM LADA Langkawi Championship last year.
The PGM LADA Langkawi Championship, jointly sanctioned with the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour, is the seventh leg of the 2016 ADT season and also the Tour’s sixth stop in Malaysia this season.
The ADT will continue to reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2017.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com