The stakes couldn’t be higher for four Malaysian professionals – Ervin Chang, Paul San, Galven Green and Amir Nazrin – when the Toyota Tour Championship tees off at the Palm Course of the Saujana Golf & Country Club here tomorrow.
The 72-hole tournament is the final leg of the exciting Toyota Tour and is co-sanctioned by the Asian Development Tour. It carries a prize pool of RM350,000 with Saturday’s winner to receive RM61,250 (US$13,032).
Chang, San, Green and Amir are currently ranked 18th (US$13,000), 28th (US$10,424), 30th (US$9,447) and 32nd (US$9,447) respectively in the Asian Development Tour Order of Merit. An outright win would catapault any of them into the top 10 with just one more leg to go at the Saudi Aramco Invitational on Nov 29 - Dec 2. The top 10 on the ADT OOM after the Saudi Aramco will earn playing rights on the Asian Tour next season.
Leading the OOM currently is Australian Deyen Lawson who has earned US$50,381.67 so far after finishing joint second in the PKNS Selangor Masters last week. Chinese Taipei’s Ho Yu-Cheng vaulted up the OOM into second place after his one-stroke victory at Seri Selangor Golf Club. Lying 10th in the OOM is Indonesia’s Naraajie Ramadhanputra with US$19,694. Chang, the best Malaysian finisher at the Selangor Master ended up tied for 8th and is now US$6,000 behind the Indonesian.
There is a second option for Malaysians to be able to compete on the Asian Tour – by finishing among the top six in the Toyota Tour OOM. These six could get invitations to play on Asian Tour events on a country-exemption basis.
Chang, with RM131,688 is the leading money earner on the burgeoning Toyota Tour that is organised by the Professional Golf Malaysia and delivered by MST Golf Group. Lying second is Danny Chia with RM83,870, Paul San (RM83,354), Galven Green (RM70,194) and Nicholas Fung in fifth place with RM65,914.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s leading professional Ahmad Baig is looking forward to a better showing at Saujana after missing the cut last week. He practised nine holes this morning and declared that “it’s a great golf course. The drainage must be good because the fairways and rough are not soggy despite the very wet weather. The greens are in excellent condition and rolling very smooth.”
Veteran Malaysian Kemarol Baharin agreed that the course was in great condition. He said his target would be to finish among the top five and strengthen his position on the Toyota Tour OOM where he is currently in eighth spot.
A total of 71 Malaysian professionals and five amateurs will compete for the Toyota Tour Championship with 68 other international players led by Lawson and Yu-Cheng. The Par 5 13th hole and the Par 4 14th hole will play as a par four and par five respectively this week.
Golf fans are in for a treat at Saujana as there will be a mini fan zone at the clubhouse whereby Puma will be promoting its latest golf shoes while TaylorMade are organising chipping and putting competitions on the practice green.
There is no admission fee to watch the Toyota Tour Championship. Spectators will also be treated to complimentary merchandise items.