Fresh from capping a successful season on his local circuit, Filipino stalwart Antonio Lascuna hopes to extend his good form onto the Asian Tour when he returns for the US$650,000 Mercuries Taiwan Masters which starts on Thursday.
Lascuna, who enjoyed a tied-second finish last year, will be challenging for a long-awaited maiden Asian Tour title when he tees up at the challenging Taiwan Golf and Country Club’s Tamsui course.
“I played really well last year, considering the tough course and strong field. I am very excited to return to this tournament again. I will hope for the best and just go out there and enjoy the game,” said the 44-year-old Filipino, who sealed a second-place finish on his domestic circuit’s Merit rankings last week.
Having come close to winning his maiden Asian Tour title on three occasions last season, Lascuna believes he is on the right track and just have to remain patient for his breakthrough.
“Well I think I still have my “A” game. I just had moments that I was too eager to nail the win and ended up with runner up finishes, but I think I’m on the right track,” added Lascuna, who is currently in the frame to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Like Lascuna, Thai veteran Thaworn Wiratchant is also reliving his top-five finish from last year as he targets to turn his season around with another good showing at the storied event, which is celebrating its 29th edition this week.
“My game, especially my short game, was perfect last year. Given my age, I will be extremely happy if I can play in that kind of top form again. I have struggled with my driver quite a bit this season but I have been working on it,” said the 48-year-old Thaworn.
“Although my driving is not in form yet, it should not be too much of a problem as I am feeling good with my iron-play and putting. I like this course and I will try to win again this week,” added Thaworn, who won the tournament previously in 2004.
Other notable players include Singapore’s Mardan Mamat, Australian Cameron Smith, Chapchai Nirat of Thailand, Filipino star Angelo Que, India’s Rahil Gangjee, as well as local stalwarts Lin Wen-tang, Lu Wei-chih and Lu Wen-teh, all former winners of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters.
Players will be vying for good showings at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters to boost their chances of qualifying for the prestigious CIMB Classic and WGC-HSBC Champions.
As of October 26, the leading four golfers from the Order of Merit will earn starting places in the US$8.5 million HSBC Champions in November while the leading 10 players will qualify for the US$7 million CIMB Classic at the end of October.