Nitithorn to resume ADT Order of Merit bid at Combiphar Players Championship

Fri 02 Nov 2018

Nitithorn to resume ADT Order of Merit bid at Combiphar Players Championship

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Bali, Indonesia, November 2: Young Thai talent Nitithorn Thippong hopes to bring the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit battle down to the wire by putting up a strong showing at the penultimate US$100,000 Combiphar Players Championship next week.

The 22-year-old Nitithorn, who trails Merit leader Miguel Carballo of Argentina by about US$9,103 in second place, will get another shot at boosting his ranking when he returns to the New Kuta Golf in Bali from November 6 to 9 (Tuesday to Friday).

With Carballo opting not to play in the event which offers a winner’s prize purse of US$17,500, Nitithorn will take aim at narrowing his gap on the money list where he had previously led for 13 weeks in a row after his maiden win in May.

American duo Han Lee and Sam Gillis, as well as Itthipat Buranatanyarat of Thailand, placed third, fourth and fifth respectively on the Order of Merit, all have a mathematical chance of overtaking the Merit lead should they emerge victorious in the event next week.

They will be part of the talented field, which consists of 144 players from 19 countries, vying for honours in the third edition of the Combiphar Players Championship, which is the 21st leg of the 2018 ADT schedule.

Wolmer Murillo of Venezuela, who triumphed in a five-way play-off for his breakthrough victory last year, will also return to defend his title against a strong line-up of players gathered for the ADT event.

“I have been playing great so far on this season. I am not as stressed as I was the last two years. I just want to have fun and play my best. The results have shown that my hard work is paying off. I will keep doing the same for the last two events,” said the 22-year-old Nitithorn, who needs at least a runner-up finish to regain the top spot on the Order of Merit.

Newly-wed George Gandranata, who claimed his ninth professional title on his domestic circuit last week, will spearhead the local charge alongside Danny Masrin and Rory Hie. They will be vying to become the first Indonesian player to win the event since its inception in 2016.

Being one of the richest events on the ADT this season, the Combiphar Players Championship will be crucial in the race for the Order of Merit title, as well as the seven coveted 2019 Asian Tour cards on offer.

While Carballo and Nitithorn might have virtually secured their Asian Tour cards for 2019, it’s still an open race for players vying to finish inside top-seven on the final Merit rankings on the other side of the spectrum as only US$2,680 separates the players in seventh and 10th place.

Singapore’s Johnson Poh sits in sixth place with a current haul of US$24,005 while South African Mathiam Keyser, who claimed his third ADT title last month, trails by a mere US$179 in seventh place.

Other notable players set to feature in the Combiphar Players Championship are five-time Asian Tour winner Mardan Mamat of Singapore, Airil Rizman of Malaysia and David Gleeson of Australia.

The Combiphar Players Championship marks the Tour’s third and last stop in Indonesia this season. It is also the penultimate event of the 2018 ADT season which will culminate with the PGM Maybank Championship in Malaysia at the end of the month.

All ADT events offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

Ends.

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 Web.com 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.