Nitithorn aims to regain top spot on Order of Merit at PGM MNRB Championship

Tue 11 Sep 2018

Nitithorn aims to regain top spot on Order of Merit at PGM MNRB Championship


Sarawak, Malaysia, September 11: Young Thai talent Nitithorn Thippong is brimming with confidence as he prepares for another title assault at the PGM MNRB Championship which gets underway on Wednesday.

Despite missing out on his second Asian Development Tour (ADT) victory following a play-off defeat in Miri last week, Nitithorn took pride in his runner-up finish which helped reduced the gap between him and Merit leader Miguel Carballo of Argentina on the money list.

The 21-year-old Thai had led the ADT Order of Merit for 13 consecutive weeks before Carballo took over the honours with his victory in Indonesia last month. He now trails Carballo by US$5,827 in second place with a season’s haul of US$31,216.

With Carballo opting to play in the Asian Tour’s Shinhan Donghae Open this week, Nitithorn has everything to play for as he takes aim at regaining pole position on the Merit rankings with a good showing at the RM225,000 (approx. US$58,000) event held at Damai Golf and Country Club.

Nitithorn will headline the event alongside fellow ADT winners Singapore’s Johnson Poh, Japan’s Shohei Hasegawa, American Josh Salah and Thailand’s Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij ranked fourth, seventh, eighth and 12th respectively on the Order of Merit.

They will face a strong challenge from the local front led by Shahriffuddin Ariffin, who claimed his maiden ADT title in Labuan last month, as well as two-time ADT winner Arie Irawan and the experienced Sukree Othman.

“It was a good week for me in Miri. I played really well and had a good finish. I was very nervous heading into the last six holes in the final round and I could not roll in the putts. I know I can win again. I just need to focus on enjoying myself and keep having fun out there,” said Nitithorn, who was defeated by Shakhawat Sohel on the first play-off hole after the Bangladeshi made an eagle to pip him to the title last week.

Nitithorn, who turned professional in 2015, is enjoying his career-best season yet on the ADT where he claimed his breakthrough victory at the PGM Penang Championship in May, and has registered seven other top-10 finishes so far this season.

“Miguel (Carballo) is playing in Korea this week so I have a good chance to boost my ranking if I finish well. I want to win again and I want to be number one on the Order of Merit but I know I need to learn to control my nerves. That will be the key for me,” added Nitithorn.

Also in the fray are George Gandranata of Indonesia, South Africa’s Mathiam Keyser, Finland’s Janne Kaske, as well as Thai duo Chinnarat Phadungsil and Itthipat Buranatanyarat.

With six events left to play on the 2018 ADT schedule, players will have all to play for as they vie to finish inside the top-seven on the final Order of Merit at the end of the season so as to secure their playing rights on the Asian Tour in 2019.

The winner of the PGM MNRB Championship will receive six Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points while the leading six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.


About Asian Development Tour

The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world. Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players will qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the exciting world of international golf. The Asian Development Tour has been structured to ensure the best opportunities for its members. The leading seven players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals. All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking points.