Photo - Asian Tour
PARIYA MOVES UP TO EIGHTH PLACE ON ASIAN TOUR ORDER OF MERIT
Kuala Lumpur: Thailand’s newest sensation Pariya Junhasavasdikul has jumped up to eighth place on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, giving him every chance of earning a place in the lucrative CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia and WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai over the coming weeks.
The 26-year-old claimed his maiden victory on the Asian Tour with a play-off triumph over Bangladesh’s Siddikur at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Sunday where the winner’s cheque of US$100,000 pushed his season’s earnings to US$156,262.
After the conclusion of next week’s US$1.25 million Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia, the leading 10 players will qualify for the inaugural US$6 million CIMB event in Kuala Lumpur while the leading five, not otherwise exempt, will also earn a place in the US$7 million HSBC Champions.
Since making his debut on the Asian Tour, Pariya, a graduate from the Purdue University in the United States, has made an impression in the region’s elite circuit after finishing 76th on the rankings in his rookie season last year.
Prior to his success in Taipei, the Thai enjoyed four top-10s, including a third place finish at the inaugural Handa Singapore Classic last month.
“I’m very happy to have won this tournament. I came here not expecting to win but I’m glad that things went my way. I have been playing very well this season and after losing my card last year, I set a goal of breaking into the top-60 of the Order of Merit,” said Pariya.
“After the Handa event, I found myself in the top-30 and my goal changed after that. I told myself to aim higher and I have done it with this victory.”
He credited countrymen Prayad Marksaeng and Thaworn Wiratchant for giving him the inspiration to succeed. “I have to thank a lot of Thai players for helping me out. From Thaworn to Prayad and many more on the Asian Tour, they have really helped me improve my game.
“Players like Thongchai have certainly set the benchmark for us Thais to follow,” said Pariya, who holds a degree in pre-law and minored in aviation management where he has clocked more than 100 hours as a pilot.
Pariya’s entry into the top-10 ensures a strong Thai presence. Thaworn is the highest ranked at sixth place with US$179,174 while Kiradech Aphibarnrat is ninth with US$152,472. Reigning Asian number one Thongchai Jaidee is 10th on US$138,119.
Korea’s Noh Seung-yul still leads the race to become the new Asian Tour number one with US$666,361, followed by Australian Marcus Fraser on US$546,016 and Andrew Dodt on US$393,041.
Siddikur, who earned US$60,000 for his second place in Taipei, moved up to 11th on the Order of Merit.
The Asian Tour will head to Malaysia for the Iskandar Johor Open at the Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club from October 14-17 where title holder K.J. Choi of Korea will defend his title against a strong field which includes Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie of Scotland, Padraig Harrington of Ireland and South African Retief Goosen.