Thaworn eyes merit advantage in HK

Thailand's Thaworn Wiratchant will head to the UBS Hong Kong Open next week knowing the huge significance the event will have on his Asian Tour career.

Golf News: Thaworn Wiratchant

The 54th edition of Hong Kong's longest-running sporting event will be staged at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling from November 15-18, 2012.

And as the 2012 Asian Tour season heads towards an exciting climax, the UBS Hong Kong Open, which is the fourth last event on the Tour Schedule, will see an intriguing battle between the region's best golfers seeking to win the prestigious Order of Merit crown.

Thaworn, who leads the Order of Merit, aims to become the oldest champion of the Asian Tour's Order of Merit after he notched three wins in Thailand, Malaysia and India this season, bringing his total haul of victories to 15 on the region's elite circuit.

The 45-year-old veteran has also inked his place in the record books as the player with the most number of victories on the Asian Tour.

Thaworn will have to upstage a star-studded field that includes the likes of world number one Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Major champions Y.E. Yang of Korea as well as American John Daly, who is known as one of golf's most colourful personalities.

The Thai is however unfazed by their star power.

"No problem playing against them. I only need to focus on my own game and the rest will take care by itself," said Thaworn.

"Winning the UBS Hong Kong Open is important as it'll give me an advantage on the rankings. Let's see how it goes next week," added the Thai.

India's Gaganjeet Bhullar could also become the next Indian to win the prestigious Order of Merit crown if he continues to impress at the UBS Hong Kong Open.

The talented 24-year-old, who has won twice on the Asian Tour in the past two months, is capable of upstaging the world's biggest stars on his day and a win in Fanling will see him soar to the top of the rankings with three events left to play after Hong Kong.

There will also be no fewer than 40 Tour champions who will attempt to bring back the coveted UBS Hong Kong Open trophy to Asia for the first time in four years since Chinese Taipei's Lin Wen-tang pipped McIlroy to win the title in 2008.

The UBS Hong Kong Open will see other Asian Tour stars fighting for their Tour cards by playing their way into the top-60 on the money list.

The top-60 players on the Order of Merit at the end of the season will retain their Tour cards for 2012, which leaves notable names such as Malaysia's Danny Chia, Singapore Lam Chih Bing and Philippines' Miguel Tabuena with a battle on their hands.

Chia, Tabuena and Lam currently lie in 60th, 79th and 90th place respectively and will need to produce their ‘A' game to avoid having to return to Qualifying School next year.

"I've been in this situation before. I'm not in a good position on the Order of Merit but I don't think I should be thinking about that right now as I just want to play well," said Lam.

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