Malaysia’s highest ranked golfer Arie Irawan will head into this week’s PGM Terengganu Championship with a new spring in his step as he sets sight on achieving more success on the burgeoning Asian Development Tour (ADT).
Arie, who claimed a breakthrough victory on the ADT at the season-opening event in January, is eager to build on his winning form for a second title when he returns to the Resorts World Kijal for the RM200,000 (approximately US$55,400) event, which starts on Wednesday.
Arie will lead the local challenge alongside Asian Tour stalwart Danny Chia, 2013 ADT Order of Merit champion Nicholas Fung and one-time ADT winner Wilson Choo at the PGM Terengganu Championship, which is the third leg of the ADT schedule this season.
Reigning Order of Merit winner and defending champion Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand will spearhead the international charge which includes American Brett Munson, England’s Grant Jackson, Lam Chih Bing of Singapore and Asian Tour Qualifying School graduate Lindsay Renolds of Canada.
Arie admitted the successful start to his stint on the ADT this season has made him hungry for bigger achievements.
“I’m solely focused on winning this week,” said the talented 24-year-old, who will be in the field for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro based on this week’s rankings.
“The game is feeling great. I went to Singapore last week to get some practice with Zaw Moe and Mardan Mamat and I’m ready. Winning on the ADT made me believe that I can go out and win more.
“I’m definitely playing with more confidence now and I’m aiming to win three or more ADT events this year. I want to boost my ranking for the Olympics and also secure my Asian Tour card for next year,” added the young Malaysian, who is currently ranked 346th on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).
Arie has enjoyed an impressive run on the ADT last season where he notched a total of nine top-10s to finish sixth on the Merit rankings. He earned one of the five Asian Tour cards on offer for the 2015 season after Thailand’s Sattaya Supupramai, ranked fourth, secured his card through finishing inside top-60 on the 2014 Asian Tour money list.
Choo, who also tasted victory on the ADT for the very first time last month, insists there is more to come if he sticks to his game and keep up with his consistency.
“Winning on the ADT proved that my hard work has paid off. It boosted my confidence as well. The win meant a lot to me as I want to focus on the ADT this year and try to work my way onto the Asian Tour next season,” said the 25-year-old Malaysian.
“It’s getting really competitive out here on the ADT. There are a lot of good players and everybody is fighting to win. Nothing has changed in my game since winning but I guess there is more advantage for me now that I get to play every event on the schedule,” added Choo.
Since it was inaugurated in 2010, the ADT has grown from five events in the first year to a record 21 tournaments in 2014. The ADT has announced a provisional 2015 schedule of a minimum 18 tournaments with several more to be announced in due course.
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 2016.
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.