New Asian Tour champion Chan Shih-chang will lead a strong local cast against an elite international field at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters next week.
Chan won the King’s Cup presented by PTT in July for his first Asian Tour title and will be aiming for a second victory at the long-running US$800,000 Asian Tour event which celebrates its 30th edition from September 29 to October 2.
Rising star Chan will be joined by countrymen Lin Wen-tang, Tsai Chi-huang, Lu Wen-teh, Yeh Wei-tze, Hung Chien-yao and Lu Wei-chih, who won the prestigious event in 2005 and 2011, at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club.
Defending champion Danny Chia of Malaysia will be among the international cast which includes two-time Asian Tour number one Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, winner of the 2004 Mercuries Taiwan Masters, and Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines, who is ranked fourth on the Order of Merit.
Last year’s runner-up Liang Wen-chong of China will also tee up next week and he will be joined by Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, Antonio Lascuna of the Philippines, Unho Park of Australia and Rashid Khan of India.
Chan is highly regarded as being amongst a new generation of golf stars to emerge from Chinese Taipei and he showed his calibre by emerging victorious in Thailand.
Before his breakthrough, the 30-year-old played on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), the secondary circuit of the Asian Tour, where he enjoyed huge success by winning five titles. In November, Chan will add another feather in his cap when he represents Chinese Taipei alongside C.T. Pan in the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne.
“My confidence has soared since I won in Thailand. It was a dream come true. That victory had opened up a lot of opportunities for me. I get to play in bigger tournaments now and I hope to secure more good results in the remainder of the season,” said Chan.
“I always look forward to playing at home. It is nice to play on a familiar course and conditions. I’ve won some local events on the ADT so now I’m hoping to do it on the Asian Tour,” he added.
Liang, the first Chinese player to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit crown in 2007, is determined to launch another title assault at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters after coming close last year.
He knows a strong showing will provide the spring in his step as the Asian Tour heads towards the business-end of the season.
“My target is to play nine events on the Asian Tour this year. Hopefully I can achieve some good results before the end of the season. The Mercuries Taiwan Masters will be a good start for me before a busy stretch so I’m looking forward to it,” said Liang.