Malaysia kicks off third Asian Development Tour Season

Kuala Lumpur: The third season of the burgeoning Asian Development Tour (ADT) tees off at the season-opening PGM-CCM-Impian Masters on Thursday with the region’s rising stars ready to take advantage of the significant increase in playing opportunities.

Since its successful launch in 2010, the ADT has grown from five tournaments on the Schedule to eight events last season while nine stops are already confirmed for 2012. Officials are anticipating approximately 12 tournaments by the end of the season.

The ADT will welcome a new tournament in Indonesia, namely the Taman Dayu Championship in Surabaya later this year but it is in Malaysia that the total number of events have grown significantly.

Working in tandem with the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour, led by its chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji, a total of six PGM events will feature on this season’s ADT Schedule, which will inevitably provide a huge boost for Malaysian players who are chasing for playing rights on the elite Asian Tour.

The top three players on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will gain Asian Tour cards for 2013. In the inaugural season, Malaysia’s S. Siva Chandhran finished top of the rankings while Akhmal Tarmizee was third.

Kyi Hla Han, Executive Chairman of the Asian Tour, said: “We are looking forward to another good season on the ADT. Our Schedule will provide playing opportunities for players who are seeking access onto our elite Asian Tour while also giving them every chance to improve their careers through a consistent playing schedule.

“There are numerous young players from the region who are capable of achieving success and we believe the ADT platform will continue to unearth rising stars of the game.”

The PGM-CCM-Impian Masters will be held at the Impian Golf and Country Club in Kajang, which is on the outskirts of the capital city of Kuala Lumpur.

Asia’s young guns including the likes of Singaporean Koh Deng Shan, Indonesia’s Rory Hie, Filipino Michael Bibat and Malaysia’s Akhmal Tarmizee and Mohd Ilya Jamil are in the field this week with the aim of achieving success.

However, a top line-up of players led by defending champion Jonathan Moore of the United States has converged for the RM180,000 (approximately US$60,000) ADT event.

Moore secured his first victory on the ADT last year in grand style, winning by three shots from Artemio Murakami of the Philippines with a stunning 22-under-par 266 aggregate. It subsequently paved the way for him to win the ADT Merit title, which secured him his Asian Tour playing rights.

“I’m looking forward to defend my title. It is a nice event and I have good memories. Winning the ADT Order of Merit last year has given me the chance to play on the Asian Tour and that’s been a great thing for my career,” said the former US Walker Cup team member.

Malaysian amateur Low Khai Jei, winner of the Tan Sri Muhyiddin Challenge last year, will also have the opportunity to test his game against many of the ADT’s leading players as he has been invited to compete in the PGM-CCM-Impian Masters.

The other Malaysian legs on the ADT include the PGM Johor Classic (April 4-7), PGM A’Famosa Classic (May 10-13), PGM Terengganu Masters (June 25-28), PGM Sarawak Classic (October 4-7), Clearwater Masters (dates to be confirmed) and PGM MIDF KLGCC Masters (November 8-11).

The Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship from August 23 to 26 will hold the honour of boasting the richest prize purse at US$110,00 on the ADT Schedule.

Other events in the pipeline for the year include those in the Philippines and Chinese Taipei.