Masaru Takahashi is in the reckoning to become the first Japanese player to win the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit after finishing tied-seventh at the PGM EurAsia Perak Championship last week.

The 31-year-old Takahashi, a two-time ADT winner, took home US$1,259 last week to move atop the Merit rankings where he now leads with a season’s haul of US$46,091.

With three more events left to play on the 2017 schedule, Takahashi is determined to hold on to his position till the end of the season and lift the Order of Merit crown for the first time since plying his trade on the ADT in 2012.

He leads by a mere US$203 over second-placed Pannakorn Uthaipas of Thailand, who took a rest last week, while American John Catlin moved to third place with total earnings of US$38,350 following his victory at the Damai Laut Golf and Country Club.

Takahashi’s best result on the Order of Merit was a sixth-place finish in 2015. He had agonisingly missed out on an Asian Tour card, which is afforded to the leading five players, after Phachara Khongwatmai of Thailand pipped him to the fifth and last Asian Tour card by a mere US$294 in the final event that year.

This season, Takahashi is unlikely to finish outside the top-five after enjoying a solid run. He won his second title in August at the Ciputra Golfpreneur Tournament in Indonesia and has notched eight other top-10 finishes so far in 2017.

“I want to win the Order of Merit and to do that I just need to continue my good form in the coming tournaments. That is my aim for now,” said Takahashi, who claimed his first ADT title in Malaysia in 2013.

Wang Wei-lun (US$35,027) of Chinese Taipei and Nattawat Suvajanakorn (US$32,559) of Thailand sit in fourth and fifth place respectively. South African Mathiam Keyser, who made the headlines with three straight career wins earlier in September, trails by a further US$4,321 in sixth position.

Players will have everything to fight for when the Tour heads into the final stretch starting with the PGM GlobalOne Championship in Malaysia next week.

The Thongchai Jaidee Foundation will be held at the Siam Country Club from December 7 to 10 while the season-ending Boonchu Ruangkit Championship will be staged at the Rancho Charnvee Resort and Country Club from December 21 to 24.

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive at least six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

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