Reigning Order of Merit champion David Lipsky of the United States will lead the elite cast alongside Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand and Jeev Milkha Singh of India, who have won a combined four Merit crowns.
Sweet swinging Filipino Juvic Pagunsan and Indian duo Jyoti Randhawa and Arjun Atwal, winners of the prestigious Order of Merit in 2011, 2002 and 2003 respectively, will also headline the US$1.5 million event, which is the richest full-field Asian Tour tournament in 2015.
They will be joined by Major winners Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, Y.E. Yang of Korea, who is also an Asian Tour honorary member, Ryder Cup stars Sergio Garcia of Spain and Thomas Bjorn of Denmark at The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip, which is located about a two-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City.
New Asian Tour winners Shaun Norris of South Africa, Chiragh Kumar of India, Natipong Srithong and Danthai Boonma of Thailand will also contend for the title along with Scott Hend of Australia, S.S.P. Chawrasia of India, Danny Chia of Malaysia and Richard T. Lee of Canada.
The 19-year-old Natipong, who is tipped to lead a new generation of golf stars from Thailand, is brimming with confidence ahead of the Ho Tram Open as he capped a stunning victory in the Philippines last week.
“I just turned professional two months ago and I’ve been playing on a sponsor’s invite. I was really motivated to play well in the Philippines because I have no playing status on the Asian Tour and now I’m a winner which is a great feeling. I really hope to continue my good form,” said Natipong.
Players at the top of the Order of Merit will also jostle for places in the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM in Malaysia next January. Chia currently occupies the fourth and final spot from the Order of Merit category to qualify for Team Asia but he is chased closely by Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand and Kumar.
Chia knows a good result at the Ho Tram Open, which is the penultimate event before the qualifying cut-off, will cement his position in the match-play event against Team Europe.
“Definitely that would be one of the things that I’m looking at, but I’m trying to do things one step at a time. I think as long as I keep doing what I’m doing now and play well, I think things like that will come in automatically,” said Chia, who is ranked eighth on the Order of Merit.
Complimentary tickets to watch the Ho Tram Open are available for download on the Ho Tram Open website www.hotramopen.com.
Since opening in October 2014, the links-style layout located two hours southeast of Ho Chi Minh City has been hailed by many of the world’s leading authorities on golf. In January, GOLF Magazine named it one of the world’s best new courses. In July, the Australian Financial Review called it “as pretty a course as you’ll find on the entire Asian continent.”
For more information about the Ho Tram Open including player bios and sponsorship options, visit www.hotramopen.com.
ASIAN TOUR MEDIA ADVISORY
This week’s event: Ho Tram Open
Prize Money: US$1.5 million (Winner’s cheque: US$270,000).
Venue: The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip
Starts: From December 3 to December 6, Thursday to Sunday.
Top Contenders: Scott Hend (Aus), Andrew Dodt (Aus), Sergio Garcia (Esp), Darren Clarke (Nir), Robert Rock (Eng), Geoff Ogilvy (Aus), Danny Chia (Mas), Chiragh Kumar (Ind), Natipong Srithong (Tha), Y.E. Yang (Kor), David Lipsky (Usa), Jeunghun Wang (Kor), Jazz Janewattananond (Tha).
Meet the Players Press Conference: Wednesday, 9am, Media Centre, The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip
Players involved: Sergio Garcia & Darren Clarke.
Fast Facts – Ho Tram Open
- The US$1.5 million Ho Tram Open is the richest full-field Asian Tour tournament on the schedule this year.
- Major winners Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, Geoff Ogilvy of Australia and Y.E. Yang of Korea will headline the Ho Tram Open.
- Sergio Garcia of Spain is the highest ranked player in the elite field. He is ranked 12th on the Official World Golf Ranking.
- A total of six Asian Tour Order of Merit winners including David Lipsky of the United States, Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, Juvic Pagunsan of Philippines, Jeev Milkha Singh of India, Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa will also feature in the event.
- No fewer than 40 Asian Tour winners will be part of the Ho Tram Open.
- The 132-man field will include a total of 15 players ranked inside the top-20 on the current Order of Merit. In total, 40 players in the top-50 of the Order of Merit will ensure a strong line-up at the Ho Tram Open.
- Malaysia’s Danny Chia, who recently ended a 13-year title drought for his second Asian Tour victory in Chinese Taipei in October, will aim for a good showing to qualify for the 2016 EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM through his ranking on the Order of Merit, where he is currently placed eighth.
- Chiragh Kumar of India, Natipong Srithong of Thailand, Jeunghun Wang of Korea and Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand, ranked 11, 12, 14 and 15 on the Order of Merit respectively also have a fighting chance to qualify for the 2016 EurAsia Cup.
- A total of 10 Vietnamese golfers including four amateurs will have the opportunity to play against the best golfers in the world and in the region.
- The Ho Tram Open is dubbed Asia’s Grandest Stage for its impeccable set-up this week.