Merit race set for thrilling finish at the PGM Maybank ADT Championship

Tue 27 Nov 2018

Merit race set for thrilling finish at the PGM Maybank ADT Championship

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Kuala Lumpur, November 27: The year-long battle for the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit crown will reach its climax at the PGM Maybank ADT Championship which will tee off at the Saujana Golf and Country Club on Wednesday.

Apart from the Merit contest, the race to finish inside the top-seven place on the money list will also make the RM225,000 (approximately US$58,000) ADT event an intriguing affair in the Malaysian capital.

The leading seven players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn their playing rights on the Asian Tour for the 2019 season.

Argentina’s Miguel Carballo will be looking to cap a remarkable season on the ADT with a defining performance that ensures he becomes the first Argentinean to lift the coveted Order of Merit crown on the region’s secondary circuit.

Carballo, a former player on the PGA Tour, has occupied prime position on the money list since his maiden ADT victory in Indonesia in August. He sits atop the ADT Merit rankings with a current haul of US$41,713.

Apart from his breakthrough win, the Argentinean has also enjoyed seven top-10 finishes on the ADT and two top-five results on the Asian Tour.

“I'm very happy with how the year has been. I played very well all year-long on the ADT and I want to close the year with a very good week in Malaysia,” said Carballo, who is playing in his first season in Asia after coming through the Qualifying School in January.

Thailand’s Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij, who catapulted to second place after his victory in Bali, Indonesia earlier this month, has a mathematical chance of pipping Carballo to the Merit title. He is the first player to win more than once on the region’s secondary circuit this season.

Having previously led for 13 weeks in a row after his maiden win in May, Nitithorn Thippong, who sits in third place, is hoping to end his season on a high note.

“I have been playing great so far on this season. I’m not as stressed as I used to be 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,” said the 22-year-old Nitithorn.

Varanyu and Nitithorn are the only two players who can catch Carballo at the top. Varanyu needs to win the tournament to take home the winner’s prize purse of US$9,398, provided Carballo misses the halfway cut. Nitithorn also needs to win the season finale but both Carballo and Varanyu have to miss the weekend rounds.

While it will be a tight battle between the top-three players on the Order of Merit for number one spot, it is still an open race for players vying to finish inside top-seven on the final Merit rankings.

Americans Sam Gillis and Josh Salah, who are in ninth and 10th place still have a chance to secure their late cards as they both lie outside the seventh by a mere hundreds of dollars.

Singapore’s Johnson Poh as well as Japan’s Kazuki Higa, ranked 11th and 12th respectively, can also spring a late surprise and earn their passage to the Asian Tour through their final rankings on the ADT.

Janne Kaske of Finland and American Han Lee sit in fourth and fifth place respectively while South African Mathiam Keyser and Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat are placed sixth and seventh.

All ADT events are afforded Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status. The winner of each tournament receives a minimum of six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points 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.