The Asian Tour will head to East Asia where an exciting run of events in China, Korea and Japan is poised to reignite the Order of Merit battle after a three-week break.
The Volvo China Open will be staged concurrently with The 38th GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship next week. The two events will take place at the Genzon Golf Club, Shenzhen and Namseoul Country Club, Seoul respectively.
Close to US$4 million in total prize purse will be on offer at both the Volvo China Open and GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship which are celebrating its 25th and 38th editions respectively.
The Tour will then move to the Land of the Rising Sun for the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup, which was founded in 1973 but co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO) since 2014.
Australia’s Scott Hend, who will be teeing up at the Volvo China Open, took over pole position on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity standings after his memorable victory at the Maybank Championship last month and has already declared his intentions to win the Order of Merit crown again.
The 45-year-old became the first Australian to clinch the merit title in 2016 and is the fourth player after Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant, Thongchai Jaidee and Prayad Marksaeng to record 10 wins or more on the Asian Tour.
“I’m leading the Asian Tour Order of Merit at the moment and it gives me a good chance to win it again. It’ll be another fantastic achievement and I would like to do it again,” said Hend.
Korea’s Sanghyun Park will be another player to look out for as he returns as the defending champion for The 38th GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship.
Park enjoyed a memorable 2018 season when he finished second on the Habitat for Humanity Standings with over half a million (US$) in earnings and was also named the Asian Tour Rookie of the Year.
The 36-year-old Korean might have missed the cuts in his first two events on the Asian Tour this season, but with the home event featuring early on the Tour’s schedule again, Park is hopeful of restoring some form of self-belief on home soil.
“Winning the Maekyung Open last year changed my plans for the rest of the season. As it came early in the season, it gave me a lot of confidence and I guess that was what led me to three wins last season,” said Park.
The Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup, which will be held at the Sobu Country Club the following week, will then be the Asian Tour’s first stop in Japan this season.
Korea’s K.T. Kim and Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shi-chang remain as the only foreign players to have won the event in 2015 and 2016.
Japan’s Tetsuji Hiratsuka (2014), Daisuke Kataoka (2017) and Yuta Ikeda (2018) were the other winners since 2014, when the Asian Tour came onboard as a sanctioning partner of the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup.