Tuesday November 20, 2012
Fraser opts out leaving Thaworn as favourite for Order of Merit title
KUALA LUMPUR: The Iskandar Johor Open at Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club next month, the Asian Tour season finale, could see the crowning of Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant as the Order of Merit winner.
However, the Thai is not taking anything for granted despite Marcus Fraser of Australia paving the way for him to lift a second Order of Merit crown.
Fraser regained top spot in the rankings after finishing third at the UBS Hong Kong Open on Sunday but has said that he will not be playing in the remaining three events due to a clash of dates with tournaments in Australia.
The big Aussie picked up US$125,200 in Hong Kong to increase his season’s haul to US$652,344, slightly more than US$24,000 ahead of Thaworn, who finished tied 22nd.
Fraser said: “I’m not going to play the two events in Thailand and possibly in Johor, so I’m pretty sure Thaworn will bank some dollars there and the Order of Merit will be his.
“We’ve got the Australian Open and Australian PGA at the same time and I haven’t played any events at home this year. I really should be going back to play in these events.”
The 45-year-old Thaworn, a three-time winner this season, knows there is still plenty of golf left to play if he is to add a second Order of Merit to the one he bagged in 2005.
While he leads third-placed Jbe Kruger of South Africa by over US$174,000 the Thai veteran prefers to take a cautious approach.
The remaining Asian Tour events are next week’s US$500,000 King’s Cup in Thailand, followed by the US$1mil Thailand Golf Championship and US$2mil Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia. “There are still three tournaments to play. They offer a total of US$3.5mil and anything can happen.
“Hopefully, I will do well enough to win the Order of Merit for the second time,” said Thaworn, who has banked US$628,131 so far this season.
The top 60 players will retain full playing rights for the 2013 season. This will ensure a tantalising battle in the coming weeks as players battle for their Tour cards.