TOUR LUMINARIES SET SIGHT ON MERCURIES TAIWAN MASTERS
Kuala Lumpur, September 24: Korean-American Anthony Kang will headline a strong cast of Asian Tour champions at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters next week.
Kang, a three-time Asian Tour winner, will be joined by popular Thai duo Thaworn Wiratchant, who claimed a record equalling 12th Asian Tour title in Taipei last week and Chapchai Nirat, who holds the world 72-hole scoring record of 32-under-par 256, Australian David Gleeson and Filipino Angelo Que at the challenging Taiwan Golf and Country Club.
Defending champion and local hero Lin Wen-tang will spearhead the local challenge alongside Chan Yih-shin, veterans Lu Wen-teh and Wang Ter-chang and local prospect Hsu Chia-jen at the US$500,000 event which is the second tournament to be played in Taipei in three weeks.
Former Mercuries Taiwan Masters champions Lu Wei-chih, Tsai Chi-huang, Lin Wen-ko and Asian golf legend Hsieh Min-nan will also feature in the tournament. Hsieh, 70, has won over 40 tournaments across Asia and Japan and was victorious in the 1972 World Cup of Golf where he won the team and individual titles.
Winner of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters in 1992, Hsieh, who will play on a sponsor’s invite, is hoping to pull off a slice of history by becoming the oldest player to make the halfway cut on the Asian Tour next week.
Kang ended a frustrating eight-year title drought by winning the Maybank Malaysian Open last year for his third Asian Tour victory. His success propelled him to his best finish on the Order of Merit where he finished in third place.
The US-based Kang is determine to rediscover his winning touch soon, especially when he has played well at the Tamsui course previously by finishing tied fifth in 2008.
“Before I won last year I had been in contention a fair bit and the key is to keep giving yourself chances,” said the 37-year-old.
“I haven’t done that too often since last year but instead of dwelling on the end result, of wanting to win, you have to try to keep improving as a player and if you can do that then the chances to win will come and find you,” he added.
Gleeson, a two-time Asian Tour champion, currently lies in 55th place on the Order of Merit and knows another good placing in Taipei will bump him up the pecking order.
The Taipei-based Australian endured a slow start to the season but showed his appetite for glory when he battled into contention in Taipei last week where he finished tied fourth.
Thai veteran Udorn Duangdecha, noted for his colourful and psychedelic pants, will be looking to make amends for last year’s disappointment where he led for the first three rounds before losing to eventual champion Lin.
The Thai, who is searching for his maiden Asian Tour victory, admitted that the gusty conditions at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club may very well play to his advantage again next week.
“I’ve played in similar conditions back home in Changmai where it can get very windy too so I’m used these type of situations,” said Udorn, who posted rounds of 65, 69 and 73 before blowing up in the final round with a 77 to finish four strokes behind the champion.