4th September 2019 | Asian Tour
Tour Insider: Yeangder TPC
By Olle Nordberg, Former Asian Tour and European Tour professional
The US$500,000 Yeangder TPC has been a fixture on the Asian Tour since 2010, with last year’s trophy won by American John Catlin on a score of 15-under-par 273.
It was a close battle on the back nine on Sunday between Catlin and compatriot Sihwan Kim, but the 16th hole turned out to be the deciding factor. Kim playing in the penultimate group would make a bogey five, while Catlin in the final threesome of the day birdied the hole to take a two-shot lead he never relinquished.
The victory gave Catlin his third win of the year in his breakthrough season and he would go on to finish the year in sixth place on the Order of Merit with US$403,666 in earnings.
The Yeangder group that sponsors the event is a big supporter of professional golf in Chinese Taipei, also supporting a number of local touring pros who are playing on the Asian Tour and Asian Development Tour (ADT). They include Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang, Hung Chien-yao and Lu Wei-chih.
The Linkou International Golf and Country Club, located outside of Taipei, is a tree-lined par 72 layout playing to 7,108 yards from the championship tees. It is a regular host venue of the Yeangder TPC and has hosted all nine previous editions.
Last year’s winning score of 15-under-par is the lowest in the event’s history, while 12-under was enough to claim the top prize in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The weather could be a big factor this week with rain, thunderstorms and windy conditions in the forecast. The tournament has been shortened to 54-holes due to weather on three occasions in the past, in 2010, 2012 and 2015.
The winner in Jakarta last week, Miguel Carballo of Argentina showed remarkable consistency in his game at Pondok Indah as he made only one bogey in 72 holes and played his last 49 holes with no score worse than par.
Posting a breakthrough Asian Tour win should have him full of confidence, and if he can keep bogeys off the card again this week, he should be near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.
Although not having the best season so far with a tied-eight at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup as his best finish, local star Lu Wei-chih is always a threat when playing in Taipei.
A winner of the Yeangder TPC in 2011, Lu also finished fifth here last year and third in 2017. The four-time Asian Tour winner have won all his titles on home soil, and in addition the previous win in this event, he also won the Mercuries Taiwan Masters in 2005, 2011 and 2016.
One of the players sponsored by the Yeangder Group who would very much like to keep the trophy “in the family” is Hung Chien-yao. A one-time ADT winner at the Chang Hwa Open in 2013, he came very close to winning in Sarawak three weeks ago missing the play-off by only two shots.
Hung was the co-leader with Catlin after three rounds at Linkou last year, and after a final round of 68 settled for a solo-third place. He was the best local finisher in the event last year.
Thai star Prom Meesawat won the second of his two Asian Tour titles here in 2014 and has shown good form in 2019. Starting his season with a tied-fifth at the SMBC Singapore Open which qualified him for The Open, he has followed it up with two wins at the Singha Thailand Masters on the All Thailand Golf Tour (ATGT) and the Butra Heidelberg Cement Brunei Championships on the ADT.
Prom also has two Asian Tour top-10s in Korea this season, coming at the GS Caltex Maekyung Open and the Kolon Korea Open, and should be considered a threat for a win this week.
A winner in his first Asian Tour event, the Bangabandhu Cup Golf Open, after graduating Q-School by finishing tied-13th, Thai rookie Sadom Kaewkanjana has continued to play solid golf.
Coming off a tied-16th and tied-11th in his last two events, the Sarawak Championship and the Bank BRI Indonesia Open, he looks set to continue his good form. A top finish for Sadom would not be a surprise this week in Taipei.