Photo - Asian Tour
ASIAN TOUR STARS TARGET SUCCESS AT OMEGA EUROPEAN MASTERS
Kuala Lumpur: A power-packed line-up of Asian Tour stars will be aiming to conquer the Swiss Alps when they compete in the Omega European Masters next month.
The reigning and current number ones, along with three former Order of Merit champions, have entered the €2 million (US$2.8 million) co-sanctioned tournament at the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Crans Montana, Switzerland.
Thai legend Thongchai Jaidee, who claimed a record third Order of Merit crown last season, will spearhead the Asian challenge with the aim on improving last year’s fifth place finish.
Current number one Noh Seung-yul of Korea, victorious in the Maybank Malaysian Open earlier this year, will also shoot for glory after missing last year’s cut.
Other former Merit champions who have submitted their entries include two-time number one Jeev Milkha Singh of India, Liang Wen-chong of China and Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand.
Four other winners on the Asian Tour this season – Angelo Que of the Philippines, Siddikur of Bangladesh, Sweden’s Richard Karlberg and India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar – will also be in the elite field which will be headlined by reigning British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and Australian legend Greg Norman.
Last year, the Omega European Masters entered the history books by becoming the first tournament in Europe to be jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
With the rise of Asian golf in recent times, in particular Y.E. Yang’s Major breakthrough at the PGA Championship last year, there is every belief now that Asian players can succeed on the international stage more regularly.
Que, winner of the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters last week, said: “So many Asians are doing well now in Europe, US and Asia. Last year, we had our first Asian major winner and I’m sure more of us will win abroad soon. It’s not that far, I don’t think so.”
Siddikur, who grew up as a ball boy in his local club, will certainly be one of the main players to watch after he played his way into the record books last month by becoming the first Bangladeshi to win on the Asian Tour with his success at the Brunei Open.
Growing up from humble beginnings where his father was a farmer, Siddikur is the epitome of how hard work and dedication can bring its rewards on the Asian Tour, which is the elite professional circuit in Asia.
Asian Tour Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han said the co-sanctioned event would provide another wonderful opportunity for the region’s top players to take on the finest from Europe.
“Siddikur is a great example where his victory in Brunei has opened the door for him to compete in other big events that the Asian Tour is involved with. With his winner’s status, he will have access to the lucrative events in Asia and I’m sure he will serve as an inspiration to others,” said Han.
“The Asian Tour continues to build new heroes and we are absolutely thrilled to welcome new champions like Siddikur, especially when he comes from a developing Asian country. He came through Qualifying School last season and has now built a career on the Asian Tour. It shows that we have the right structure in place to unearth new stars.”