Manila: Chinese Taipei's Chan Shih-Chang believes he still has an outside chance of springing a surprise on the Order of Merit race by winning the US$1 million Resorts World Manila Masters which starts on Thursday.
The 30-year-old is not ready to write off his chances just yet as a victory at the richest golf tournament in the Philippines will allow him to narrow the gap with Australian merit leader Scott Hend.
"I’m looking at a top-three result this week. The gap between Scott and I is quite big but nothing is impossible, there’s still a chance.
“It's still possible and the race is not over yet," said Chan, who at fifth place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, is the highest ranked player this week.
Chan has enjoyed a sensational season on the Asian Tour so far.
After five victories on the Asian Development Tour, he claimed his breakthrough on the Asian Tour with a deserving win in Thailand in July.
He quickly followed up that success with another victory in Japan in September, underlining his status as one of Asia's most promising talents.
But after seven weeks on the road, Chan hopes his well-rested break at home will allow him to come back with all guns blazing when the Resorts World Manila Masters gets underway.
"Those wins have given me a huge confidence boost but I feel I’m beginning to suffer from a burnout from playing too many events. I’ve got to learn to pace myself.
“I was playing for seven straight weeks in a row and was already feeling the fatigue in Shanghai. I had a good break at home last week and I’m feeling better," said Chan.
Sri Lanka's Mithun Perera is also hoping for a grandstand finish at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club.
Perera has been knocking on the winner’s door on several occasions last season but has yet to find the form that has made him one of Sri Lanka’s most exciting prospects this year.
The 29-year-old has only made the cut in six events since the start of the year but he hopes a return to the course which has brought him several encouraging results in the past will eventually turn his fortunes around.
“I’ve been playing well at this event over the last three years. It favours not only the long hitter but also the short hitters. So it’s really exiting to be back as I need an event like this to boost my rankings on the Order of Merit.
“I was leading after 54 holes in the first year and finished tied ninth. Last year, I finished tied 18th. I feel like I’ve been playing well but struggling with my distance. This is a good track and I’m expecting myself to do well this week.
Australia’s Scott Barr is determined to end his season of near-misses with a win at the Resorts World Manila Masters.
He came close to his first win in Taipei, only to lose a three-shot lead on the final day before finishing tied for third.
“I didn’t start the year well so this week’s important for my playing status in 2017. I just have to press on as I’m playing pretty well.
“You never know, that win may just come on Sunday,” said the 44-year-old Australian.
Resorts World Manila Masters partners include Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club, Marriott (Official Hotel Partner) and supported by Aristocrat, IGT, Konami, Scientific Games, Empire Automation, LJ Industries, Levelwear, RGB LTD, PLDT Alpha, Dalmore, Srixon and Bloomberg.