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Taipei: Lu Wei-chih of Chinese Taipei is on a mission to secure a unique double victory on home soil when he tees off at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters starting Thursday.
Lu notched his second Asian Tour title in Chinese Taipei last month and will put his home course knowledge of the Taiwan Golf and Country Club to good use this week.
He will have to contend with a strong cast of Asian Tour stars including title holder Pariya Junhasavasdikul of Thailand, Lin Wen-tang of Chinese Taipei, a five-time Asian Tour winner and an in-form Danny Chia of Malaysia in the US$600,000 event. Lu, who stays five minutes from the Taiwan Golf and Country Club, hopes to make amends after missing out on the play-off with Pariya and Siddikur of Bangladesh when he bogeyed the 18th hole last year.
“That was quite disappointing but I’ve already moved on from that defeat. I’m in great form now and I feel very comfortable playing here,” said Lu, who won the Mercuries Taiwan Masters in 2005. 
Lu won the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in early October and subsequently finished in tied third at the Hero Indian Open. He is confident of carrying his momentum and securing his third Asian Tour victory this week.
“I’ve been playing on this course since I was 13. I’m in fantastic form and I feel very confident of winning here again,” said the 32-year-old. Pariya, a licensed pilot, has not enjoyed the best of starts this year after struggling to adapt to new swing changes.
“That’s part of going through some swing changes, you have to accept the fact you won’t be playing well. It is a long process but for the greater good,” said the 27-year-old graduate from the Purdue University in the United States. He insists he is not feeling pressured of emulating last year’s victory.
“It really didn’t hit me until I walked up the 18th tee yesterday (Tuesday). That brought back some really good memories. It almost feels like home. I’m going to try and relax and not think about winning yet.”
The top-60 players on the Order of Merit at the end of the season will retain their Asian Tour cards for next year and Ben Fox of the United States will be in a pressured packed race of breaking into the safety zone this week.
“I’ll miss the next two tournaments on the Asian Tour because I will be playing in the second stage of the US Qualifying School but my game is peaking at the right time. I feel I’m starting to play better in the last month or so.
I’m quite confident of having a good week and jumping inside the number,” said Fox, currently in 75th position on the Order of Merit. “I’ve been very positive in the last three events.
Hopefully I can get the putts to start falling and everything will come into place.” Fox, playing in his second year on the Asian Tour, said the Taiwan Golf and Country Club reminded him of some of the courses back in the United States.
“It kind of reminds me of some courses back home. It is a little bit more traditional and tree lined. I like the fact that it is a challenging course. Par is a good score here,” he added.

Photo - Asian Tour   

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