KARMIS RISES TO 21ST PLACE ON ASIAN TOUR ORDER OF MERIT
Kuala Lumpur, September 14: From his previous ranking of 98th, South Africa’s Peter Karmis has shot up to 21st place on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit following his start-to-finish victory at the inaugural Handa Singapore Classic on Sunday.
The slightly built Karmis added a winner’s cheque of US$63,400 to his season’s haul of US$71,293 and will have every chance of improving his position further as he will gain direct access into all the Asian Tour’s biggest tournaments from now on.
A Qualifying School graduate, the 29-year-old earned a priceless two-year winner’s exemption until the end of 2012. It will allow him to feature in many of the region’s upcoming elite and cash-rich tournaments including the Iskandar Johor Open, Panasonic Open, Hero Honda Indian Open, UBS Hong Kong Open, Barclays Singapore Open and Black Mountain Masters, which offers an excess of US$13 million.
“The first thing that comes into my mind is all the privileges that come from winning on the Asian Tour,” said a delighted Karmis, whose opening two rounds of 63s set him on his way to a maiden victory in Asia.
“The rest of my year is pretty much sorted out and next year as well. It has suddenly changed from wondering if I could get into tournaments to getting into all the tournaments.”
A two-time winner on his home tour in South Africa, Karmis showed that the route to success on the Asian Tour begins with the Qualifying School where he finished tied 36th in Thailand in January.
Other recent Qualifying School graduates who have won on the Asian Tour include Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg, Japan Tetsuji Hiratsuka and South African James Kamte. Of course the most notable Qschool graduate who have achieved the greatest success is none other than Thai legend Thongchai Jaidee, who holds a record 12 victories and three Order of Merit titles.
“This is a much bigger event to win (compared to the two tournaments in South Africa). The prize money is also bigger and the privileges are better,” said Karmis.
“I tried never to have any expectations when I earned my Asian Tour card but I try to play my best. I tried to win but to be honest I wasn’t expecting to win. Now that I’m sorted on the Asian Tour, I’m going to play as much as I can. There’re some really nice tournaments at the end of the year and it is great that I’m able to play in all of them! I will definitely be playing in all the Asian Tour events,” he added.
Countryman Jbe Kruger, who pushed Karmis all the way in the final round, moved up to 14th place on the Order of Merit after taking his season’s earnings to US$93,890. With the top-10 on the Merit list after the Iskandar Johor Open qualifying for the inaugural US$6 million CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia, Kruger has plenty to play for over the coming weeks.
Thailand’s rising star Pariya Junhasavasdikul was another player who made a big move following his third place finish at the Orchid Country Club. He rose to 28th place on the rankings with US$55,032, which should guarantee him a first full Asian Tour card for next season.
Korea’s Noh Seung-yul still leads the rankings with US$630,616. Second-ranked Marcus Fraser of Australia, who finished tied 18th in the Handa Singapore Classic, has US$534,149 to his name while countryman Andrew Dodt is third with US$390,857.
The top-60 finishers at the end of the year will earn full playing rights for the 2011 season.
After the conclusion of the Handa Singapore Classic, the Asian Tour is now in Taipei this week for another new tournament, the US$300,000 Yeangder Tournament Players Championship at the Linkou International Golf and Country Club. The event begins on Thursday.
ASIAN TOUR ORDER OF MERIT – TOP-20
Pos Player Order of Merit (US$)
1. NOH Seung-yul (KOR) 630,616
2. Marcus FRASER (AUS) 534,149
3. Andrew DODT (AUS) 390,857
4. K.J. CHOI (KOR) 235,838
5. Tetsuji HIRATSUKA (JPN) 212,463
6. Rhys DAVIES (WAL) 159,156
7. Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 138,119
8. Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 134,653
9. Angelo QUE (PHI) 125,736
10. Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 119,032
11. Jason KNUTZON (USA) 118,818
12. Mardan MAMAT (SIN) 117,622
13. Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 105,511
14. Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 93,890
15. CHAN Yih-shin (TPE) 82,975
16. Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 80,615
17. Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 79,193
18. Hideto TANIHARA (JPN) 75,996
19. Rick KULACZ (AUS) 74,920
20. LAM Chih Bing (SIN) 74,598