September 2018 | Asian Tour

Da Silva savours long-awaited victory at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters


Chinese Taipei, September 30: Adilson Da Silva of Brazil claimed a long-awaited victory on the Asian Tour after closing with a third consecutive two-under-par 70 to win by one shot at the storied Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Sunday.

The 46-year-old Da Silva, who held a one-shot lead heading into the final round, fired three birdies on the third, seventh and 13th holes before dropping a shot on the last for a winning total of seven-under-par 281 in the US$850,000 event.

Da Silva, who started playing on Tour after coming through the Qualifying School in 2011, earned a career-biggest prize purse of US$170,000 thanks to his victory. He also became the first Brazilian to win on the region’s premier Tour since it was inaugurated in 2004.

Local hero Lin Wen-tang signed for a 70 to share second place with American Berry Henson, who posted a 69, at the fabled Taiwan Golf and Country Club, which is celebrating its centennial year in 2018.

Qualifying school graduate Heungchol Joo of Korea marked his best result so far this season after battling to a 72 to sit in fourth place alongside South African Justin Harding, who closed with a 72, in what is the longest running full-field event on the Asian Tour.

Despite missing out on his third win of the season, Harding took pride in his commendable result which moved him up two spots to sixth place on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings, led by India’s Shubhankar Sharma, who finished in tied-42nd place.

The top 10 and top four players (not otherwise exempt) on the Habitat for Humanity standings, as of October 7, will qualify for the US$7 million CIMB Classic and US$10 million WGC-HSBC Champions staged in Malaysia and China respectively.

Did you know?

  • Adilson Da Silva became the first Brazilian to win on the Asian Tour following his victory. He also takes home a career-biggest prize purse of US$170,000 thanks to his win.
  • Da Silva has an impeccable track record at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters. He has not finished outside top-three in his last three starts in the storied event. In his debut appearance in 2012, he also enjoyed a tied-ninth place finish.
  • Prior to this week, Da Silva has made only three cuts in 11 starts this season. He started the season with six consecutive missed cuts before claiming a tied-ninth place result in Japan last week.
  • Last year, Da Silva came in joint runner-up after finishing two shots back of winner Gavin Green of Malaysia. He used back the same local caddy this week.
  • Da Silva welcomed his twin daughters, Sienna and Amelia, three months ago.
  • Da Silva enjoyed a career high in 2016 when he was given the honour of striking the first tee shot at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro when golf made a return into the programme after 112 years.
  • Da Silva has won multiple times on the Sunshine Tour. He started playing extensively in Zimbabwe from between 1996 to 2003, winning more than 30 titles and five Zimbabwean Order of Merit crowns. Played in the British Open in 2000 and 2007.
  • Lin Wen-tang is one of Chinese Taipei’s most successful golfers. He holds a total of six victories on the Asian Tour, including the Mercuries Taiwan Masters which he won in 2009. Lin has also won twice on home soil on the Asian Development Tour (ADT).
  • Berry Henson, a one-time Asian Tour winner, made an amazing return from a career-threatening wrist injury by notching three consecutive top-10 finishes earlier in the season.
  • The 39-year-old Henson, who claimed his breakthrough in his rookie year on the Asian Tour in 2011, marked his best result this season with his joint runner-up finish this week.

Players’ quotes:

Adilson Da Silva (Bra) – Final round 70 (-2), Total 281 (-7)

This means so much to me. I really like playing in Asia and it’s so special to win here. The whole atmosphere here is great. The sponsors are great here as well. Mr George Wong, Chairman of the Mercuries Group, has been here the whole week, talking to players every now and then.

You don’t see that anywhere else. I think it’s just great to see. I had a number to make on my mind today. I told myself not to worry about other people’s scores and just focus shot by shot. I think that helped me a lot.

I ignored everything else and managed to do my thing out there. I hit my tee shots very good. I kept giving myself chances in approach shots. If you missed the fairways, it’s very difficult to stop the ball on the greens. But I gave myself a lot of chances by keeping it in play.

I am really comfortable with the layout here. I also think it’s a very fair golf course because if you hit good shots, you will be rewarded. This year, the greens are so good. It’s the best I have ever seen. Over the years, I found a plan to play the course as well.

I was just trying to hit the same shots over and over on every hole. I never change my plan much to be honest. That experiences have helped me a lot a lot. I just kept it very simple really. I didn’t really complicate things too much.

I had a bit of a tough time at the beginning of the year. I struggled with my putting a lot. I was very disappointed because I was playing pretty well. It’s just my putting which has been so bad. It affected my entire game because I wasn’t able to give as much attention in playing good. I couldn’t get anything positive.

But I realised that I am not having a good mindset about my game so I picked myself up, went through my rounds and see what went wrong. I have been working really hard on my putting and it started to pay off. This win just came at the right time.

When you start making putts, you start gaining confidence. I have been changing putters but I kind of switch back to my old ways of putting, my old technique. It’s just so special to finally win in Asia and in a tournament that meant so much to me. I am really happy with myself.

My wife Althea and I just welcomed our twin girls three months ago, Sienna and Amelia. My son is nearly five years old now. I guess they just pushed me to do better. I want to do better for them and I did it. They say newborns give you luck. I guess that’s true!

I had a good feeling out there. I told myself I can do this. I have been putting well and I just have to believe it and stay in the presence. I woke up with the same mindset today. I wasn’t really excited and I wasn’t thinking about my overnight one-shot lead.

I kept a quiet mind and had a number on my mind and just try to achieve it. I think this frame of mind helped a lot. I used the same caddy whom I used last year when I came in joint second. He helped me a lot with the line readings. He is very good.

I enjoyed the same time since I came to play in Asia. I am really happy with my win. I want to send my appreciation to Mr. George Wong again. He’s been such a good sponsor. He’s so keen in getting involved with the game and he’s so passionate about it. He really likes the game. This is what the game needs and it’s really good to see.

Berry Henson (Usa) – Final round 69 (-3), Total 282 (-6)

I got off to a fantastic start. I thought I could make the turn at five-under today. That was my plan last night. I came really close to doing that today. I played fantastic. But I made a bogey on the 10th, which was a tough hole. It was a good bogey actually. I didn’t feel like I lost so much.

I hit a fantastic iron-shot on the 11th hole which kind of got my back into the rhythm. I just missed the putt short. I went on to make an unbelievable birdie on the 17th hole which was massive but just pulled my tee shot a little bit left on the 18th and got a really bad spot.

I got another bad spot after that but hit an unbelievable chip to about four-feet. It’s one of the best shots I have hit all week although I finished with a bogey. There are lots of positives to take from this week. I didn’t play my best golf until today.

I kind of struggled most of the week but my short game kept me in it. Just to have a chance to go for the title was all that I was hoping for this week. I did it so I’ll take it. Still have an outside chance to qualify for the CIMB Classic. Hopefully I can carry on my good form in next week.

Lin Wen-tang (Tpe) – Final round 70 (-2), Total 282 (-6)

Adilson is just so steady today. He really knows his way around this course. I think I played too aggressively as well but I just try to stay light-hearted out there. It’s definitely disappointing to come up short but I really did try my best out there today.

On a windy day like this, you need a little bit of luck around this course too. Adilson is a good player. He’s also a very steady player. I knew I need to shoot a really low number if I want to chase him down. I trust the wind too much today I think.

I am happy with my result. I had fun today. My whole family is here to support me, my wife, my son and my daughter. I am especially thankful to my wife. I think this is the first time she has ever step into a golf course to support me. She has never done that before.

She left with my daughter right after I finished playing. She doesn’t want to get exposed to the public (laughs). The last time she came out to watch me play, she was still my girlfriend and she was so nervous when she watched me putt then.

I will continue to work hard. This course is hard to handle, to be honest. I knew I was just one shot back after the 16th hole. I just got too aggressive on the 17th where I ended up making a mistake.

Justin Harding (Rsa) – Final round 72 (even), Total 284 (-4)

It’s still a good result although it wasn’t quite the weekend that I would like to have. I missed a couple of short putts again. It’s just the same story I had yesterday. I felt like I was in control. I guess you got to hit the fairways on this course.

It was a bit frustrating because you felt like you have the game to do well but it’s not enough to get the job done. I just couldn’t get it going out there. But I’ll take the positives from this week. This should help boost my Merit rankings a bit and still one for week to go before the cut-off date so we’ll see how it goes.

It’s exciting times for me. I have had a good year. I can’t be too upset. I’ll take the positives and figure out the game as I head to the CIMB Classic and potentially the WGC-HSBC Champions.

Scores after round 4 of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters being played at the par 72, 6923 Yards Tamsui Course course (am – denotes amateur):

281 – Adilson DA SILVA (BRA) 71-70-70-70.

282 – Berry HENSON (USA) 71-73-69-69, LIN Wen-tang (TPE) 70-72-70-70.

284 – Justin HARDING (RSA) 68-73-71-72, Heungchol JOO (KOR) 75-71-66-72.

285 – Shiv KAPUR (IND) 71-73-71-70.

286 – HSIEH Tung-hung (TPE) 75-71-69-71, Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 73-71-69-73.

287 – Sanghyun PARK (KOR) 74-71-74-68, Shaun NORRIS (RSA) 76-70-71-70, LU Wei-chih (TPE) 73-71-71-72, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 70-72-70-75.

288 – Kurt KITAYAMA (USA) 70-75-74-69, Josh YOUNGER (AUS) 72-72-72-72, Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 68-77-71-72, LU Chien-soon (TPE) 72-74-68-74.

289 – John CATLIN (USA) 72-72-73-72.

290 – Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA) 71-76-75-68, Maverick ANTCLIFF (AUS) 69-72-76-73, Jeev Milkha SINGH (IND) 72-73-72-73, Johannes VEERMAN (USA) 75-72-70-73, Jake HIGGINBOTTOM (AUS) 72-75-70-73, Lionel WEBER (FRA) 68-73-73-76.

291 – HUNG Chien-yao (TPE) 70-76-74-71, TSAI Chi-huang (TPE) 71-71-72-77.

Ends.


Chinese Taipei, September 29: Overnight co-leader Adilson Da Silva of Brazil edged closer to his long-awaited Asian Tour breakthrough after battling to a two-under-par 70 to grab the outright lead following the penultimate round of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Saturday.

The 46-year-old Brazilian, who claimed a second joint runner-up finish in the storied event 12 months ago, continued to bank on his past experiences as he carded four birdies against two bogeys to lead by one shot on five-under-par 211 total in the US$850,000 event.

Home hero Lin Wen-tang raised the local hopes after signing for a 70 to share second place with South African Justin Harding (71), young Thai Jazz Janewattananond (70) and Heungchol Joo of Korea (66) at the fabled Taiwan Golf and Country Club.

Qualifying school graduate Joo, who sank the first ace of the week on the par-three eighth hole yesterday, returned with the day’s best score after posting a bogey-free round highlighted by six birdies in the event, which is celebrating its 32nd edition this week.

Zimbabwean Scott Vincent, American Berry Henson and Chinese star Liang Wen-chong shared sixth place on 213 following respective rounds of 69, 69 and 70 at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters, which hails as the longest running full-field event on the Asian Tour.

Players are vying to boost their Merit rankings with good showings this week as the top 10 and top four players (not otherwise exempt) on the Habitat for Humanity standings will qualify for the US$7 million CIMB Classic and US$10 million WGC-HSBC Champions staged in Malaysia and China respectively.

The Mercuries Taiwan Masters will be the penultimate event for players to try and boost their rankings on the Habitat for Humanity Standings before the cut-off date on October 7.

Did you know?

  • Adilson Da Silva holds the 54-hole lead for the first time in six appearances at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters.
  • Da Silva has an impeccable track record at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters. He has not finished outside top-three in his last three starts in the storied event. In his debut appearance in 2012, he also enjoyed a tied-ninth place finish.
  • Prior to this week, Da Silva has made only three cuts in 11 starts this season. He claimed a tied-ninth place result in Japan last week to propel to 65th place on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings. Needs a strong performance this week to break into top-60 and retain his card for the 2019 season.
  • Last year, Da Silva came in joint runner-up after finishing two shots back of winner Gavin Green of Malaysia.
  • Da Silva enjoyed a career high in 2016 when he was given the honour of striking the first tee shot at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro when golf made a return into the programme after 112 years.
  • Da Silva has won multiple times on the Sunshine Tour but is still searching for a first win on the Asian Tour.
  • Da Silva started playing extensively in Zimbabwe from between 1996 to 2003, winning more than 30 titles and five Zimbabwean Order of Merit crowns. Played in the British Open in 2000 and 2007.
  • Justin Harding is playing in only his sixth start on the Asian Tour this season. He has claimed two victories and a runner-up finish so far.
  • Harding broke into top-10 on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings following his second-place result in Japan last week. He sits in a current eighth position.
  • The 32-year-old Harding won his first Asian Tour title in his first start on Tour this season at the BANK BRI Indonesia Open in July. He later claimed a six-shot victory at the Royal Cup to become the first player since 2011 to win back-to-back titles on the region’s premier Tour.
  • Harding is the higest-ranked player in the field in 97th place on the latest Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).
  • Lin Wen-tang is one of Chinese Taipei’s most successful golfers. He holds a total of six victories on the Asian Tour, including the Mercuries Taiwan Masters which he won in 2009. Lin has also won twice on home soil on the Asian Development Tour (ADT).
  • Jazz Janewattananond claimed his second Asian Tour victory at the Queen’s Cup on home soil in June.
  • The 22-year-old Thai went on to make his Major debut at The Open at Carnoustie.
  • Placed 14th on the current Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings, Jazz has a good chance to qualify for the upcoming CIMB Classic if he can break into top-10 with a good result this week.
  • Heungchol Joo turned professional in 2007. He has won three times on his local circuit.
  • Joo came through the Asian Tour Qualifying School for the first time in three attempts earlier in January.
  • The 37-year-old Joo has missed only one cut in seven starts so far this season. He aced the par-three eighth hole in the second round after hitting a four-iron from 172 metres.

Players’ quotes:

Adilson Da Silva (Bra) – Third round 70 (-2), Total 211, (-5)

It was a perfect day, no wind nothing. I didn’t really get off to a good start, bogeyed the second hole. I hit short of the green and had a bad lie there. I just kept hanging there and got a few birdies in after that.

On the back nine, I just kept it in play again. I hit good tee shots and gave myself good chances to attack the pins with my second shots. I just played steady. I think the par on the 10th hole is my best hole today. I hit it to the right again, chipped it close and made the four-footer for par.

I am just going to do the same tomorrow. Stay patient because this course can really test you very quickly. I just need to be very patient, play one shot at a time. Even today, I kept telling myself to be patient as well. Even a day like this, you need to be very patient as well.

Justin Harding (Rsa) – Third round 71 (-1), Total 212 (-4)

I played really well on the front nine. I think it have been a couple lower than three-under-par. But I played bad on the back nine. Nothing seems to happen when I put myself in play. I didn’t make putts, missed a tap-in on the 17th hole and three-putted the 15th hole.

It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for obviously. I was looking to at least maintain a bit of momentum. I wanted to give myself a lot of space but it wasn’t the case. Adilson played really well today.

At the end of the day, it’s going to be a little bit of a dog fight tomorrow. There wasn’t much breeze today. Personally, I thought the golf course today was just there for you to score. I don’t know too much about what other players shot but I felt like I left four to five shots out there quite comfortably.

It’s going to be the same thing tomorrow. I’ll just keep executing shots, try and make less mistakes tomorrow.

Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) – Third round 70 (-2), Total 212 (-4)

I started very well today, slowed down in the middle and didn’t finish well with two closing bogeys. But on a course like that, you can’t mind too much if you bogey. I am looking forward to starting fresh tomorrow and we’ll see how it goes.

There was less wind today and easier to play for sure. I think two-under is not a bad score. It’s not great but I think that will do the job today. My eagle putt lipped out on the par-five sixth hole but it was still nice to get three birdies in a row.

My approach shots were good. It was pretty good all around. I just putted better on my front nine. I don’t what’s going to happen with the weather tomorrow. It might just change to a sunny day but whatever it is, I will go out and try my best to shoot a good score.

I think I still have a good chance to qualify for the CIMB Classic so that’s definitely at the back of my mind. Hopefully I can secure a good result this week and leave myself with lesser work next week.

Lin Wen-tang (Tpe) – Third round 70 (-2), Total 212 (-4)

I played pretty steady today, especially at the start of the round. I birdied second and missed a short putt for birdie on third. I hit a good drive on the fifth which bounced to the left of the fairway and then hit my 50 degree from about 117 yards and the ball disappeared on the green!

I left a few shots out there. My putts didn’t really drop on the back nine. But overall, I played consistently. Playing on this course, I know I just need to try and do my best. This course is not as easy as it looks.

Like Liang Wen-chong today, he played really well today. His iron shots were great but his putts just didn’t seem to drop. The greens are tricky here. One more day to go, I’ll just do my best tomorrow.

Heungchol Joo (Kor) – Third round 66 (-6), Total 212 (-4)

I putted really well today. I made two long putts from 20 metres for birdies on 12 and 16. On the fourth and fifth holes, I hit it close and tapped in for birdies. It was nice to come back with a bogey-free round.

It was less windy out there today. I guess that helped. I made a hole-in-one yesterday and felt really good about the course when I went out this morning. There are just a lot of good vibes out there.

This is my first time playing in the event so I am happy with where I stand now. The greens are tricky here and it’s hard to read. But I will try my best again tomorrow. It’s also my first time playing in Chinese Taipei. It has been really enjoyable so far.

The season’s been good since getting my card at the Qualifying School. Hopefully I can continue playing well in the final round tomorrow.

Scores after round 3 of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters being played at the par 72, 6923 Yards Tamsui Course course (am – denotes amateur):

211 – Adilson DA SILVA (BRA) 71-70-70.

212 – Heungchol JOO (KOR) 75-71-66, LIN Wen-tang (TPE) 70-72-70, Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) 70-72-70, Justin HARDING (RSA) 68-73-71.

213 – Scott VINCENT (ZIM) 73-71-69, Berry HENSON (USA) 71-73-69, LIANG Wenchong (CHN) 70-73-70.

214 – LU Chien-soon (TPE) 72-74-68, TSAI Chi-huang (TPE) 71-71-72, Lionel WEBER (FRA) 68-73-73.

215 – HSIEH Tung-hung (TPE) 75-71-69, LU Wei-chih (TPE) 73-71-71, Shiv KAPUR (IND) 71-73-71.

216 – Miguel TABUENA (PHI) 68-77-71, WANG Wei-hsuan (am, TPE) 72-72-72, Josh YOUNGER (AUS) 72-72-72.

Ends.


Prague, August 27:  Reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Gavin Green of Malaysia enjoyed a second runner-up finish after closing with a three-under-par 69 at the D+D REAL Czech Masters on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Green, a one-time Asian Tour winner, returned with a bogey-free round highlighted by three birdies to finish on a 17-under-par 271 total, five strokes behind Italy’s Andrea Pavan at the Albatross Golf Resort.

“I played solid today and gave myself a lot of looks, unfortunately some putts didn’t drop on the back nine. I made some putts in the middle but it is what it is and it was a very positive week,” said Green, who had held a share of the opening round lead and took the halfway lead on his own.

“I’m really happy and proud with how I handled myself out there. It was fun playing with Scott (Jamieson), we both had no dropped shots. I knew I had a bit of a cushion in third place so I wanted to go for the pin at 18th and it came up a little short. I hit a really good putt and it was nice to finish like that.

“It was fun to have my dad on the bag and some of my buddies are here so we hung out a lot and it’s nice to have a top three from the week,” added the big-hitting Green, highest-ranked Malaysian in 177th place on the Official World Golf Rankings.

The talented Malaysian also earned for himself a year’s supply of beer after powering his tee-shot 358 yards on the par-five ninth hole at the Albatross Golf Resort. The prize was on offer for the longest drive on that hole on Sunday.

India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar, who claimed his ninth Asian Tour title at the Fiji International earlier this month, fired a 66 to finish in tied-seventh position while Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai battled to a 72 to end his campaign in tied-ninth place on 276.

Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent settled 11 shots back in tied-18th place following a 71 while Soomin Lee of Korea carded a 73 to grab a share of 29th place on 279.

Ends.


Sentosa, Singapore, September 24: It was in 2013 when Gavin Green showed a glimpse of his immense potential which marked the beginning of a defining career on the Asian Tour.
After enjoying a solid year playing for the University of New Mexico, Green accepted a sponsor’s invitation to play in the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters
He was still an amateur at the time but Green showed no fear with his booming drives as he headed into the final round just two shots back of the leader.
As fate would have it, the young Malaysian ran into bad luck on the 11th green when he called a penalty on himself after his ball moved at address.
He eventually finished in a share of tied sixth position but many including eventual winner Pariya Junhasavasdikul of Thailand predicted a bright future for the Malaysian.
“I gave him a pat on the back and said that’s the true spirit of golf. I said if you didn’t call on yourself, no one would have known,” said Pariya after his victory. “In two or three years’ time, I won’t be able to match up with him on the course.”
It was a huge lesson for the honest Green but success came to him sooner than imagined when he dominated the 2014 PGM Vascory Templer Park Championship to become the first amateur to win on the Asian Development Tour (ADT).
Two years later, he would claim double victories on the ADT and finish second on the Order of Merit to earn an Asian Tour card for 2017. To add icing on the cake, he also represented Malaysia in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
In his first full year on the Asian Tour, Green was quick to prove that he belonged among the best. After claiming three runner-up results and one victory at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters, he took his place among a long list of luminaries to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
“After 12 months, here we are on top. It is an amazing feeling!” said Green, who had topped the list against other stellar names including Scott Hend, David Lipsky, Phachara Khongwatmai and S.S.P. Chawrasia.
The sky is the limit for Green and at the age of only 24, his success on the Asian Tour is only the beginning of more good things to come.
Ends.

Sentosa, Singapore, Setpember 25: Here’s what the Asia-Pacific Classic winner, John Catlin, had in his bag.

Driver: PRGR RS F 10.5*                                     Shaft: Mitsubishi-Chemical Diamana BF Series 60 TX

Fairway: TaylorMade M2 15*                                Shaft: Mitsubishi-Chemical Diamana BF Series 70 TX

Hb: Callaway Epic HB 20*                                    Shaft: Mitsubishi-Chemical Diamana Thump 100 X

Irons: Yonex EZONE CB 501 (6-P)                         Shaft: Nippon Shaft NS PRO PROTOTYPE System 3+ TX

Wedge1: Yonex NI-CB Forged 52*

Wedge2: Titleist Vokey Design SM5 56* S-Grind

Wedge3: Titleist Vokey Design SM5 60* S-Grind

Putter: Odyssey O Works Black 3T

Ball: Bridgestone Tour B X

Shoe: Master Bunny

Cap: Master Bunny

Bag: Master Bunny

Glove: Master Bunny


Chinese Taipei, September 28: Adilson Da Silva of Brazil renewed his love affair with the Tamsui course after carding a two-under-par 70 to grab a share of the halfway lead at the wind-swept Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Friday.

Silva, who holds an impeccable track record in the storied event, fired four birdies against two bogeys under blustery conditions to take his place atop the leaderboard alongside Australian Maverick Antcliff (72), South African Justin Harding (73) and Lionel Weber (73) of France.

The quartet leads by one shot on three-under-par 141 total in the US$850,000 Asian Tour event held at its traditional home at the fabled Taiwan Golf and Country Club, which is celebrating its centennial year in 2018.

Korea’s Heungchol Joo produced the highlight of the day when he stuck an ace on the par-three eighth hole after hitting a four-iron from 172 metres. It was the second time he sank a hole-in-one during a professional tournament.

Local veterans Lin Wen-tang and Tsai Chi-huang signed for respective rounds of 72 and 71 to share fifth place with Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond (72) at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters, which is celebrating its 32nd edition this week.

The halfway cut was set at four-over-par 148 with a total of 53 players, including one local amateur, advancing to the next two rounds.

Did you know?

  • Adilson Da Silva has an impeccable track record at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters. He has not finished outside top-three in his last three starts in the storied event. In his debut appearance in 2012, he also enjoyed a tied-ninth place finish.
  • Prior to this week, Silva has made only three cuts in 11 starts this season. He claimed a tied-ninth place result in Japan last week to propel to 65th place on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings. Needs a strong performance this week to break into top-60 and retain his card for the 2019 season.
  • Last year, Silva came in joint runner-up after finishing two shots back of winner Gavin Green of Malaysia.
  • Silva enjoyed a career high in 2016 when he was given the honour of striking the first tee shot at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro when golf made a return into the programme after 112 years.
  • Silva has won multiple times on the Sunshine Tour but is still searching for a first win on the Asian Tour.
  • Silva started playing extensively in Zimbabwe from between 1996 to 2003, winning more than 30 titles and five Zimbabwean Order of Merit crowns. Played in the British Open in 2000 and 2007.
  • Maverick Antcliff secured his Asian Tour card at the Qualifying School after finishing tied-seventh. He missed only two cuts in 11 starts this season and his best result was a tied-ninth place finish at the Indonesia Open in July.
  • The 25-year-old Antcliff came in tied-fourth when he made his Asian Tour debut at the 2017 Asian Golf Championship in China last November.
  • Antcliff, who turned professional in 2016, is playing the Mercuries Taiwan Masters for the first time in his career.
  • Lionel Weber graduated from the 2013 Asian Tour Qualifying School and is searching for his maiden victory on the region’s premier Tour.
  • Weber has been struggling to find his form all-season, missing eight cuts in 15 starts with his best result being a tied-21st place finish in Myanmar earlier in January.
  • The 28-year-old Weber found only seven fairways but missed just four greens in regulation in his solid round of 68. He amassed 28 putts in total.
  • Justin Harding is playing in only his sixth start on the Asian Tour this season. He has claimed two victories and a runner-up finish so far.
  • Harding navigated his way around the greens with only 26 putts in his round of 68.
  • Harding broke into top-10 on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings following his second-place result in Japan last week. He sits in a current eighth position.
  • The 32-year-old Harding won his first Asian Tour title in his first start on Tour this season at the BANK BRI Indonesia Open in July. He later claimed a six-shot victory at the Royal Cup to become the first player since 2011 to win back-to-back titles on the region’s premier Tour.
  • Harding is the higest-ranked player in the field in 97th place on the latest Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).

Players’ quotes: 

Adilson Da Silva (Bra) – Second round 70 (-2), Total 141 (-3)

I had a good round although I didn’t finish well. It was tough out there. The wind was swirling. I hit a lot of fairways and gave myself a lot of chances to go for the pins. I just kept it in play. I didn’t do anything that special.

I made a couple of putts in the beginning but made a few three-putts coming back. Other than that, I played solidly. The past experiences have helped definitely. I am pretty familiar with the course and the conditions out there.

Sometimes when the winds are swirling, it’s hard to think about your strategy so I must say the past experiences have helped. This is probably one of the toughest conditions that I have played here.

I would like to win this tournament for sure. It’s a very special tournament to me. I really like playing here and I enjoyed the tournament every time I come back here. The people are friendly and the sponsors are very nice too.

The top-10 finish last week has definitely given me some good form coming here. I hope to keep riding on that good form. I am putting better and I am hitting the ball a lot better too so we’ll wait and see.

Maverick Antcliff (Aus) – Second round 72 (even-par), Total 141 (-3)

It was tough out there. It was quite windy and we got a bit of rain on the front nine which was my back nine. I kind of got off to an average start. It’s pretty tough to start from the 10th hole. It’s a long par-three, especially with the wind and stuff.

I didn’t get off to the best start with the bogey there but I was just trying to stay calm out there and made some good saves. I managed to birdie sixth and seventh which was nice. I putted nicely today. I felt more comfortable with the greens now.

I still have a couple of three-putts but I felt like everyone else will probably do the same out there. I think I didn’t do too bad even the tough playing conditions out there. It could’ve gotten a lot worse.

The wind felt like it swirls around a bit. You just got to trust that the wind is coming out from north-east and stick to it. It’s a big event this week. I came here with the aim to try and play well. I’m happy with where I stand right now, given that it’s my first time here.

It’s nice to be playing solid but it’s golf, I’ll just take it as it comes and see what happens over the weekend.

Lionel Weber (Fra) – Second round 73 (+1), Total 141 (-3)

I’m happy with my day. The conditions were very tough out there. I knew shooting an even-par 72 will be a good score for today. I fought very hard. I was one-under after the first nine holes but lost my momentum after that.

I came back with two birdies and I fought till the end. One-over in this condition, I think it’s a good score. I’m still in contention and in a good position right now so I’m positive for the weekend. My short game was very good today. I made some ome good up and downs.

Justin Harding (Rsa) – Second round 73 (+1), Total 141 (-3)

It was strange today. I felt pretty good at the start but I came out and made mistakes after mistakes. It’s something you can’t do especially on a hard day like this. I thought I bounced back pretty nicely with birdies on sixth and seventh, the two par-fives.

I made two good par-saves on ninth and 10th as well. I thought let’s get the momentum going but went on to make bogey on the 11th hole with a wedge in my hand. It was a difficult day.

It was hard out there, I missed a bunch of greens and just struggled. But at the end of the day, I haven’t played my way out of it.

I kind of figured out that even-par will be a really good score. Looking at the leaderboard now, it seems like the case. Anyone who shot under-par played really great. It’s a tricky golf course and it’s harder given the conditions today. It’s a great layout nonetheless.

I’m nicely positioned for the weekend so hopefully I can put up a good round tomorrow and see what happens. I am very happy with my one-over-par. It felt like a couple under-par to be honest.


Chinese Taipei, September 27: South African Justin Harding continued his dazzling form by carding a four-under-par 68 to share the opening round lead with Lionel Weber of France and Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Thursday.

Harding, the first player to win consecutive events on the Asian Tour this season, fired one eagle and four birdies against two bogeys to take his share of place atop the leaderboard at the fabled Taiwan Golf and Country Club, which is celebrating its centennial year in 2018.

Australian Maverick Antcliff trails the leading trio by one shot in fourth place while local hero Lin Wen-tang, Indian hotshot S.S.P. Chawrasia and Chinese ace Liang Wen-chong were among those bunched in fifth following matching rounds of 70s at the US$850,000 event.

Starting from the par-three 10th hole, the 32-year-old Harding sank two birdies against a bogey to turn in 35. He fired another two birdies and an eagle on the par-five seventh before dropping a shot on his last hole ninth.

Tabuena, who came close to winning the storied event before settling for second place in 2016, renewed his love affair with the Tamsui course after marking his card with five birdies against a bogey. He is chasing for his second Asian Tour victory in a country where he had finished second on four different occasions.

Weber rediscovered some of his best form after closing with two straight birdies to grab a share of the lead. Placed 96th on the latest Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings, the 28-year-old Weber needs a strong performance this week to possibly break into top-60 and retain his card for the 2019 season.

Did you know?

  • Justin Harding is playing in only his sixth start on the Asian Tour this season. He has claimed two victories and a runner-up finish so far.
  • Harding navigated his way around the greens with only 26 putts in his round of 68.
  • Harding broke into top-10 on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings following his second-place result in Japan last week. He sits in a current eighth position.
  • The 32-year-old Harding won his first Asian Tour title in his first start on Tour this season at the BANK BRI Indonesia Open in July. He later claimed a six-shot victory at the Royal Cup to become the first player since 2011 to win back-to-back titles on the region’s premier Tour.
  • Harding is the higest-ranked player in the field in 97th place on the latest Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).
  • Miguel Tabuena is a one-time winner on the Asian Tour. He won his National Open in 2015.
  • The 23-year-old Tabuena has notched three top-10 finishes so far this season. He sits in 26th place on the money list.
  • Tabuena is making his eighth consecutive appearance in the Mercuries Taiwan Masters. He missed the halfway cuts in four editions but finished inside top-10 on all the other three occasions where he made the cut.
  • His best result at the storied event was a runner-up finish in 2016 where he came in one shot back of Lu Wei-chih.
  • Lionel Weber graduated from the 2013 Asian Tour Qualifying School and is searching for his maiden victory on the region’s premier Tour.
  • Weber has been struggling to find his form all-season, missing eight cuts in 15 starts with his best result being a tied-21st place finish in Myanmar earlier in January.
  • The 28-year-old Weber found only seven fairways but missed just four greens in regulation in his solid round of 68. He amassed 28 putts in total.

Players’ quotes:

Justin Harding (Rsa) – First round 68 (-4)

The eagle on the par-five seventh was obviously the highlight for me. I hit a rescue from about 228 yards to about a foot and then made the eagle. It was nice. The ninth hole is probably one of the toughest this week.

I missed a birdie on sixth from a good spot but was nice to eagle the next hole. I am happy with the day. I played nicely and I played solidly. I didn’t have too many bad shots out there, just a couple of silly bogeys which were kind of unnecessary.

I made a very sneaky birdie putt on the par-five 15th. I duffed the chip from the back of the green and then I made about a 30-foot slider which was an added bonus. I need to work on my chipping!

We got quite lucky this morning. The rain stopped before we teed off. But the swirling winds made it pretty tricky out there. Playing my first round ever here in Chinese Taipei and grabbing a share of the lead, I think it’s job done for me for today. Looking forward to tomorrow.

I played the golf course conservatively. It’s a hard golf course. It’s got quite a bit of shape. I kind of felt like I played my way back on a few occasions today which is good. I kind of stuck to my game plan and then made a couple of putts.

Miguel Tabuena (Phi) – First round 68 (-4)

We got lucky with the weather actually. The rain stopped just before we teed off. I am really pleased with my ball striking. That’s one of the keys to play well on this course. The putts dropped today as well.

Whoever has most control with their trajectory off the tees and who does well in distance control will do well this week. I am played here many times. I came in second four times here in Chinese Taipei. I really enjoyed playing here. It’s not too far away from home.

It’s one of those courses where you can shoot low on the first day but might not do the same in the last few rounds. I guess my past experience has helped. I hope to keep it up tomorrow.

Lionel Weber (Fra) – First round 68 (-4)

It was really good out there. I always like this golf course. The greens are very good this year and it was really enjoyable to play on this golf course. I had a great finish to the round today with two closing birdies after making a bad bogey on 16.

It was a good bounce back. The par-three 17th is a tough hole. I played a five-iron off the tee and made the birdie putt from 16 feet. It was quite nice. I hit a good three-wood on the fairway on the 18th hole and played a gap-wedge before making the birdie putt from five-feet.

It was pretty windy out there. It’s a tricky golf course. I am lucky because I have played here many times and I had the experiences. I have a good strategy for this golf course too so I am going to stick to it and hopefully keep playing well. I am looking forward to tomorrow.

Scores after round 1 of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters being played at the par 72, 6923 Yards Tamsui Course course (am – denotes amateur):
68 – Lionel WEBER (FRA), Justin HARDING (RSA), Miguel TABUENA (PHI).
69 – Maverick ANTCLIFF (AUS).
70 – Junsung KIM (KOR), LIN Wen-tang (TPE), Minchel CHOI (KOR), S.S.P. CHAWRASIA (IND), HUNG Chien-yao (TPE), Kurt KITAYAMA (USA), LIANG Wenchong (CHN), Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA).
71 – Berry HENSON (USA), Shiv KAPUR (IND), Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND), Nicholas FUNG (MAS), Adilson DA SILVA (BRA), Tirawat KAEWSIRIBANDIT (THA), Yikeun CHANG (KOR), TSAI Chi-huang (TPE), LIEN Lu-sen (TPE).
72 – Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA), Mardan MAMAT (SIN), LU Chien-soon (TPE), LU Wen-teh (TPE), Jake HIGGINBOTTOM (AUS), SUNG Mao-chang (TPE), HUNG Chun-kang (TPE), CHEN Tze-chung (TPE), Jeev Milkha SINGH (IND), Terry PILKADARIS (AUS), John CATLIN (USA), LIN Wen-ko (TPE), Anthony KANG (USA), TSENG Tzu-hsuan (TPE), Josh YOUNGER (AUS), Carlos PIGEM (ESP), K P LIN (TPE), Pannakorn UTHAIPAS (THA), WANG Wei-hsuan (am, TPE).
73 – Suradit YONGCHAROENCHAI (THA), Scott VINCENT (ZIM), LU Wei-chih (TPE), Viraj MADAPPA (IND), Adam BLYTH (AUS), TSAI Che-hung (TPE), Chapchai NIRAT (THA), Danthai BOONMA (THA), Jarin TODD (USA).
74 – YEH Wei-tze (TPE), Miguel CARBALLO (ARG), CHIANG Chen-chih (TPE), Sihwan KIM (USA), Andrew MARTIN (AUS), WANG Tsung-chieh (TPE), Sanghyun PARK (KOR), LEE Chieh-po (TPE), Ben CAMPBELL (NZL), Richard T. LEE (CAN), Shubhankar SHARMA (IND), WANG Wei-lun (TPE), LEE Cho-chuan (TPE), Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA), James MARCHESANI (AUS), Niall TURNER (IRL).

Chinese Taipei, September 26: Promising talent Viraj Madappa of India hopes to make it a week to remember when he tees up for his debut appearance at the US$850,000 Mercuries Taiwan Masters, which starts on Thursday.

The 20-year-old Madappa, who came through the Qualifying School in January, made the headlines when he claimed his maiden victory on home soil last month. He is looking to ride on that winning form when he makes his first professional start in Chinese Taipei this week.

Madappa will spearhead the talented 123-man field alongside two-time Asian Tour winners Danny Chia of Malaysia and Thailand’s Prom Meesawat in the storied event, which is celebrating its 32nd edition at the fabled Taiwan Golf and Country Club this week.

This year’s Mercuries Taiwan Masters will mark a significant milestone as the regular host venue, the Taiwan Golf and Country Club celebrates its centennial year in 2018 as the oldest club in the country.

Chia will aim to bounce back from an uncharacteristic lackluster season by putting up another good showing at the venue which saw him end a 13-year title drought for his second Asian Tour victory in 2015.

Placed 16th on the current Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings thanks to two top-10 finishes in Australia and Thailand, Prom is eyeing a strong performance this week to break into top-10 to qualify for the lucrative CIMB Classic in Malaysia in November.

Players will be vying to boost their Merit rankings as the top 10 and top four players (not otherwise exempt) on the Habitat for Humanity standings will qualify for the US$7 million CIMB Classic and US$10 million WGC-HSBC Champions staged in Malaysia and China respectively.

The Mercuries Taiwan Masters will be the penultimate event for players to try and boost their rankings on the Habitat for Humanity Standings before the cut-off date on October 7.

Did you know?

  • Viraj Madappa became the youngest Indian player to win on the Asian Tour after lifting the TAKE Solutions Masters trophy last month. He won at the age of 20 years and nine months, breaking the previous record set by Gaganjeet Bhullar, who was 21 years and three months old when he won his first Asian Tour title at the 2009 Indonesia President Invitational.
  • Madappa is also the youngest winner on the Asian Tour this season.
  • Madappa, who turned professional in 2017, made the grade in his first attempt at the Asian Tour Qualifying School in January. He is the first rookie to win on the Asian Tour this season.
  • Danny Chia is a history-maker for Malaysia. In 2010, he became the first player from his country to play in all four rounds at The Open at St Andrews, which he also qualified for in 2005 and 2008.
  • Chia became the first Malaysian to win on the Asian Tour with victory at the 2002 Taiwan Open where he came from seven shots back to triumph. In 2015, he ended a 13-year title drought for his second Asian Tour title at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters.
  • The 45-year-old Chia is also a three-time winner on the Asian Development Tour.
  • Prom Meesawat is a two-time winner on the Asian Tour. He claimed his second and last Asian Tour victory in Chinese Taipei in 2014.
  • Last week, Prom was picked by good friend and fellow Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat to be his partner for the ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf in October. It will be his debut appearance in the prestigious event.
  • Prom enjoyed a tied-12th place finish at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters last year. He has never finished outside top-33 in his last five starts since 2012.
  • Prom missed only two cuts in 19 starts so far on the Asian Tour this season.

Players’ quotes:

Viraj Madappa (Ind)

It’s been pretty different for me since I won in August. People have been coming to congratulate me and I got into the big events in Korea and Japan last two weeks. I was just trying to see where I stand against the better players out there.

It was a nice experience last two weeks. I feel like there’s more expectations for me to do well now. I feel like I am doing alright so far. I’ve been through a little bit of phase where I am trying to find more motivation to achieve the bigger goals.

The goal at the beginning of the season was to win a tournament and now I’m trying to regroup and set other goals for the second half of the season. I felt like I wasn’t at my best mentally the last two weeks. I had time to sit back and think through the last few days, about what I needed to do. I didn’t touch the clubs at all. I think I found something now and I’m excited again.

It’s my first time playing this tournament and my second time in Chinese Taipei. I came to play in an amateur event back in 2015. I have heard that it’s going to be tough out there, especially when the wind picks up. Par would be a good number to shoot.

Having played the course yesterday, I feel it’s pretty tight but it’s fair. The conditions are good and the greens are rolling quite nicely. Like every other golf course, you got to hit it straight. You can attack if you can hit the fairways. But at the same time, you need to be careful because the greens aren’t very big and if you miss it on the wrong spot, it can be difficult.

Looks like it’s going to be a long week with the persistent rain so I will try to stay patient out there and keep doing what I have doing.

All of us are very proud of what Shubhankar (Sharma) has achieved so far. He deserves the Arjuna award, given the way he has played in the last eight to 12 months. I’m very happy for him. I am sure all of us are very proud of him.

I definitely hope to receive the award one day but I think it’s just a by-product of your achievements. You still need to get your stuff done, put in the hard work and you’ll get recognized for it one day.

Danny Chia (Mas)

The course is probably in its best condition which I have ever seen since I first played here. Hopefully the greens can stay like that when the tournament starts. I haven’t been playing well this year so I hope to regain my good form this week and we’ll see how it goes from there.

I feel very comfortable with this course. It’s a course which I know pretty well. I got my regular caddy with me again this week. I worked with him every time I play here. I think we’ve worked together for 10 years already. He caddies for me every year.

I hope we can put together some good results this week.

Prom Meesawat (Tha)

I’ve played this course many times. It’s like an old-style golf course. I remembered the greens are very tricky and the windy conditions will make it even trickier. When I first played here, I thought it’s quite a short course and it should be quite easy. But that’s not the case when you actually play it.

It’s always nice to be back in Chinese Taipei. I have won in this country before and it’s good to come back with some good memories. We, the Thai players, have a good relationship with the Taiwanese players. It’s like meeting up with your old friends every time we come back here. They always take very good care of us and they look after us a lot.

I have been playing pretty well this season. My game has been consistent. Obviously received good news from Kiradech (Aphibarnrat) last week that I’m going to play in the World Cup for the first time with him in November. I am really excited. I hope to do better in the remainder of the season.

Two more events these two weeks to try and qualify for the CIMB Classic and WGC-HSBC Champions. I still have a chance. Just need to play well these two weeks and we’ll see how it goes. I go out every week trying to enjoy and win the tournament.

I have been working a lot on my fitness this year. I go to the gym whenever I have time. I guess that helped improved my game as it makes my swing more stable. That’s the key for me this year which resulted in some good results. But having said that, I’m still trying to make it better. I am working on other parts of my game as well. Hopefully, things will get even better.

Ends.


Chinese Taipei, September 25: Rising star Shubhankar Sharma of India will resume his chase for the coveted Asian Tour Order of Merit crown when he tees off for the US$850,000 Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Thursday.

Sharma, who will be receiving the prestigious Arjuna Award from the President of India in Delhi today, is determined to put up a fine performance this week to extend his lead on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings.

The 22-year-old Sharma will spearhead the elite 123-man field from 23 countries at the fabled Taiwan Golf and Country Club, the traditional home of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters which is celebrating its centennial year in 2018 as the oldest club in the country.

South African Justin Harding, highest-ranked player in 97th place on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), will also feature in the storied event alongside Korea’s Sanghyun Park and Scott Vincent of Zimbabwe, all placed inside the top-10 on the Habitat for Humanity Standings.

The Mercuries Taiwan Masters is the longest-running full-field event on the Asian Tour. Inaugurated in 1987, the event has been held annually on the region’s premier Tour since 2004.

Players will be vying to boost their Merit rankings as the top 10 and top four players (not otherwise exempt) on the Habitat for Humanity standings will qualify for the US$7 million CIMB Classic and US$10 million WGC-HSBC Champions staged in Malaysia and China respectively.

The Mercuries Taiwan Masters will be the penultimate event for players to try and boost their rankings on the Habitat for Humanity Standings before the cut-off date on October 7.

Did you know?

  • Shubhankar Sharma, a two-time Asian Tour winner, currently leads the Habitat for Humanity Standings with a season’s haul of US$603,156.
  • Sharma won his first Asian Tour title at the Joburg Open last December. He went on to claim his second victory two months later at the Maybank Championship and broke into top-100 on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) for the first time in his career.
  • He continued his remarkable rise at the World Golf Championships in Mexico where he came in top-10 in his first attempt.
  • Sharma played in all four Major championships this year. He is the youngest Indian and third overall to achieve the feat following Jeev Milkha Singh in 2007 and Anirban Lahiri in 2015 and 2016.
  • Sharma will receive the award from the President of India in a ceremony to be conducted at the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President’s House) in Delhi today.
  • Other Indian golfers who have won the Arjuna Award include: Ali Sher (1991), Amit Luthra (1996), Harmeet Kahlon (1997), Jeev Milkha Singh (1999), Shiv Kapur (2002), Jyoti Randhawa (2004), Arjun Atwal (2007), Gaganjeet Bhullar (2013), Anirban Lahiri (2014) and S.S.P. Chawrasia (2017).
  • Justin Harding is playing in only his sixth start on the Asian Tour this week. He has claimed two victories and a runner-up finish so far.
  • Harding broke into top-10 on the money list following his second-place result in Japan last week. He sits in a current eighth position and is in the running to qualify for the WGC-HSBC Champions in November.
  • The 32-year-old Harding won his first Asian Tour title in his first start on Tour this season at the BANK BRI Indonesia Open in July. He later claimed a six-shot victory at the Royal Cup to become the first player since 2011 to win back-to-back titles on the region’s premier Tour.
  • Prior to his campaign this week, Scott Vincent has notched a total of eight top-10 results this season. He has missed only two cuts in 17 starts so far. He is chasing for a breakthrough win on the Asian Tour this week.
  • The 26-year-old Vincent came in joint runner-up when he played in his first attempt at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters last year.
  • Vincent is leading the total against par rankings where he is 106-under-par in 59 rounds this season. He is incredibly 31 shots to-par better than anyone else in the ranking.
  • Vincent, placed fourth on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings, will have his wife Kelsey on the bag again this week.
  • Vincent, the only Zimbabwean member on Tour, was named the Rookie of the Year in 2016. He came through the Qualifying School in his first attempt earlier that year.

Players’ quotes:

Shubhankar Sharma (Ind)

I am really excited to be coming back to play in Asia. This is my third time playing in the Mercuries Taiwan Masters. I am looking forward to seeing all my friends again and it will be nice to catch up with all of them this week.

I’ve played the course before so I know what mistakes I should avoid. I’ll make sure I come up with a good game plan and hopefully play well this week. The aim is also to build some good momentum before heading to the CIMB Classic in Malaysia.

I’m looking forward to play in the CIMB Classic as well. It’s one of the biggest events in Asia and I’m very happy to qualify for that. I have never played at the TPC KL before. I have been very lucky to get a few starts on the PGA Tour as well this year so I am very excited.

The chase for the Asian Tour Order of Merit crown has been on my mind since the start of the season. I’ve been leading the Habitat for Humanity Standings since winning the Maybank Championship in February. I’m lucky to still be in the lead even though I haven’t played much in Asia.

I will try my best to play well these two weeks and hopefully extend my lead at the top of the money list. It’s not going to be easy but I’m in the best position that anyone can be in. It will be a great honour if I can join the list of Indian players who have won the prestigious Asian Tour Order of Merit crown.

I am really happy to receive the Arjuna award today as well. It’s a great honour. Many great golfers in India, like Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal, Anirban Lahiri and Gaganjeet Bhullar, have won the award so to be able to join that illustrious list really mean a lot to me. My whole family will be there at the ceremony with me today so I am really excited.

Justin Harding (Rsa)

This is my first time in Chinese Taipei. It’s the first time for me just about everywhere at the moment but I’m looking forward to the week. It’s good to be coming into the week with some good form, after finishing runner-up in Japan.

I felt like it was a sneaky result last week because I thought I was just walking through the course for three days and then managed to make a couple of putts on Sunday to put myself in good position.

Everyone was trying to grab a share of second place because Yuta (Ikeda) had a phenomenal week. I was just trying to make birdies out there and it turned out that I was second alone and that was awesome.

It has obviously put me in a good position on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings as well, which is nice with the big events coming up. I know I can’t always feel my way around. I need to put three good rounds together and give myself a chance come Sunday.

I will try and figure out the course these two days and learn what kind of strategies I need, hopefully make as few bogeys as possible. I’ve enjoyed playing in Asia so far. It’s been a long time coming. I have been wanting to play here for awhile but it didn’t quite work out with my scheduling, especially with the big events back home in South Africa.

I have made a couple of friends here, obviously the guys whom I have been playing with. The tour staff and everyone else have been fantastic. They made me feel very welcomed. This is only my sixth event so I am still very new.

I’ve got Shaun Norris with me this week. We’re staying together. Scott (Vincent) and I get along very well and I’m pretty close to Jbe Kruger and Adilson Da Silva as well. I don’t feel as lonely actually. It’s a nice experience and learning curve for me overall so I’m hoping to keep it going.

I think bidding for a spot in the WGC-HSBC Champions is at the back of everyone’s mind right now. A couple of us are pretty close and anyone who plays well these two weeks has a chance to grab one of the four spots. It’s going to be a grind all the way down the stretch. We’ll see what happens.

I have had a good year so far. I was in some good run of form when I won in Thailand and Indonesia. It seems like it’s happening again now and I am going to try and ride on that good momentum for as long as I can.

Scott Vincent (Zim)

I played well here last year. I had a good week and I remembered playing some really good golf here. I am looking forward to keep that going for this week.

There are some really tricky holes out there, like the ninth hole. The drives are so important out here. The greens here are tricky too and you will need a bit of quick adjustments, especially coming from places where the greens are rolling fast.

This is one of those weeks where you know it’s going to be tough, especially when you understand what you’re going into. You just need to be ready for those things. It’s good to be coming back here with some good form.

A few things on the back of my mind as well. I hope to play well this week and seal up my spot in the upcoming WGC-HSBC Champions. Looks like I have locked up my spot in the CIMB Classic already so that’s great. I’m hoping for a really good week.

It could be a bonus week. I could get my first win here but that’s something I will leave till Sunday. Right now, I just have to focus on the days leading up to Sunday. Got to get some good work in today and tomorrow and be ready to go on Thursday.

Ends.


Sentosa, Singapore, September 24: South African Justin Harding’s foray into the Asian Tour has been fantastic so far, but he is not done yet.

The 32-year-old has broken into the top-10 of the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings following his second-place finish at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup on Sunday,

With that, Harding is now in a commanding position to qualify for two of the most lucrative events on the Tour schedule in 2018 and he aims to secure his spot over the next two weeks.

“Hopefully, this result will help with my chances to qualify for the CIMB Classic and the WGC-HSBC Champions. It will be tight on the Habitat for Humanity Standings and we’ve got a fortnight left, so by no means I’m done and dusted. I still have to grind,” said Harding, who is currently eighth on the money list.

Harding won the Indonesia Open and the Royal Cup earlier in the season, becoming the first golfer to win twice in his first two starts on Asia’s premier circuit.

“It has been a whirlwind on the Asian Tour. Everything is new to me but I’m enjoying it and having a lot of fun. I’m looking to continue my form throughout the year,” added Harding.


John Catlin of the United States

American John Catlin is also setting his sights on securing a spot in Malaysia and China. He has improved his chances significantly after a tied-ninth finish in Japan.

“I had a chance to win a golf tournament but I couldn’t get the putts to fall. I hit it beautifully, but my putter let me down,” explained Catlin.

On the race to the CIMB Classic, he said: “It is going to be an exciting next two weeks. It will come down the wire and it will be a good challenge for me.”

The top-10 and top-four players (not otherwise exempt) on the Habitat for Humanity standings will qualify for the US$7million CIMB Classic and US$10 million WGC-HSBC Champions staged in Malaysia and China respectively.

The cut-off date for both events will be upon the conclusion of the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Chinese Taipei on October 7.

This week, the Asian Tour heads to the Taiwan Golf and Country Club for the US$850,000 Mercuries Taiwan Masters, which is celebrating its 32nd edition this year.

Ends.

Top-20 players on the Habitat for Humanity Standings

Pos       Player   Order of Merit (US$)

1            Shubhankar SHARMA (IND) $603,155.55

2            Sanghyun PARK (KOR) $535,524.07

3            Matt WALLACE (ENG) $446,660

4            Scott VINCENT (ZIM) $391,142.6

5            Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) $390,226.53

6            Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) $372,480.89

7            Yuta IKEDA (JPN) $338,671.47

8            Justin HARDING (RSA) $338,097.88

9            Rahil GANGJEE (IND) $296,888.5

10          Sihwan KIM (USA) $279,623.77

11          Minchel CHOI (KOR) $271,340.97

12          John CATLIN (USA) $247,372.18

13          Paul PETERSON (USA) $241,148.57

14          Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) $224,414.8

15          Shaun NORRIS (RSA) $179,715.32

16          Prom MEESAWAT (THA) $165,838.63

17          Danthai BOONMA (THA) $165,252.19

18          Berry HENSON (USA) $164,560.6

19          Kurt KITAYAMA (USA) $152,723.69

20          Daniel NISBET (AUS) $151,883.64

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