Race for money title heats up at Thailand Open

photo

Liang Wen-chong

MERIT LEADERS

1 Y. E. YANG (KOR) $416,660

2 LIANG Wenchong (CHN) $313,200

3 KIM Dae-hyun (KOR) $248,973

4= Rhys DAVIES (WAL), Stephen DODD (WAL) $217,135

6 Michael HENDRY (NZL) $213,836

7 BAE Sang-moon (KOR) $197,162

8 KIM Kyung-tae (KOR) $132,592

9 KIM Hyung-tae (KOR) $107,298

10= Jamie DONALDSON (WAL), Johan EDFORS (SWE), Mikko ILONEN (FIN) $106,166

BANGKOK, Thailand – Liang Wen-chong will step up his bid for the OneAsia Order of Merit title when he headlines the field in this month’s Thailand Open.

Going into the sixth event of the OneAsia season at Burapha Golf Club from Aug. 26-29, the former Asian Tour No. 1 is in second in the Merit standings with earnings of US $313,200.

But with the Thailand Open offering a purse of US $1 million for the first time, Liang will be hopeful of closing the gap on Korean Y.E. Yang, who leads the way with US $416,660.

By playing in Thailand, Liang will also be in line for another US $5,000 fine from the Asian Tour for playing in a rival OneAsia tournament without a release.

Liang is among those who played in last month’s Indonesia Open without a release who has contested his fine.

Although many Asian Tour members remain torn about whether to risk incurring fines, Malaysian Danny Chia has also indicated his intention to play the Thailand Open, which was previously a part of the Asian Tour.

While doubts remain about the participation of Thai heavyweights Thongchai Jaidee, Prayad Marksaeng and Boonchu Ruangkit, organizers confirmed that Thaworn Wiratchant and Kiradech Aphibarnrat will be among the leading local players in the field. Thai players will not be fined for playing in the tournament as Asian Tour rules permit members to play without penalty in their national Open.

New Zealand’s Michael Hendry, who won the Indonesia Open last month on OneAsia, will also compete with a host of top Australians, including Scott Strange, David Gleeson and Stephen Allan.

“Everything is in place for another fine Thailand Open,” said Rungsrid Luxitanonda in a statement, on behalf of the Thailand Golf Association (TGA) and sponsor Singha Corp. “We are extremely grateful once again for the support of corporate Thailand, and we look forward to the tournament’s maiden appearance on OneAsia.”

Indian Jyoti Randhawa won the event last year in Phuket. It was the first time the tournament was played in three years, having been revived thanks to a new partnership between the TGA and World Sport Group, a sports management company.

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