Johor Bahru, Malaysia, April 26: Local talent Gavin Green aims to boost his position on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) by challenging for a third Asian Development Tour (ADT) title of the year at the PGM Palm Resort Championship starting Wednesday.
The 22-year-old, who has already won twice on the region’s burgeoning Tour this season, will earn playing rights for the 2016 Asian Tour season and boost his chances of qualifying for the upcoming Olympic Games if he triumph at the Palm Resort Golf and Country Club this week.
Ranked 369th in the world, Green now sits in 60th and last place on the Olympics qualifying ranking, with the cut-off being July 11. He is one of two Malaysians in the top-60 with compatriot Danny Chia currently ranked 50th.
Green will spearhead the local charge alongside Chia and 2013 ADT Order of Merit champion Nicholas Fung in the RM200,000 (approx. US$46,600) event, which is the 12th leg of the ADT schedule this season.
They will face off against a strong international cast headlined by Order of Merit leader Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand, as well as compatriots Itthipat Buranatanyarat and Suradit Yongcharoenchai, placed third and fifth respectively on the current Merit rankings.
“It’s a huge accomplishment for me to get into the frame to qualify for the Olympics but I still have a long way to go. I got to keep grinding and play good golf. Once I can do that, I believe everything else will take care of itself,” said Green, who was the first amateur to win on the ADT in 2014.
“The game’s feeling good. I am excited to play this week. I had a good experience in Japan last week although it was a grind. I made some mistakes but it was my first Asian Tour cut this year which was really positive. I hope to keep it going,” added the young Malaysian, placed second on the current Merit rankings thanks to two wins and two top-10s so far this season.
Newcomer Suradit stamped his mark on the ADT when he finished runner-up at the season-opening Players’ Championship in Singapore, which was also his very first ADT event outside of Thailand. He has capped two other top-10s since.
“I am very happy with my performance so far this season. It has been really enjoyable playing on the ADT. The aim is to finish inside top-five to secure my Asian Tour card for next year. I think I have a good chance if I can stay consistent throughout the year. I will keep trying my best,” said the 17-year-old Thai, who turned professional a year ago.
Other notable players in the field include reigning Merit champion Casey O’Toole of the United States, Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang, George Gandranata of Indonesia, Finland’s Janne Kaske, Singapore’s Quincy Quek and James Byrne of Scotland.
The ADT, which was inaugurated in 2010 as the gateway to the premier Asian Tour, will continue to reward the top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of this season with Asian Tour cards for 2017.
Like all other ADT events, the PGM Palm Resort Championship will offer OWGR points, which will be key for players vying to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this August.