Hsieh eyes successful title defence on home soil

Miaoli, Chinese Taipei, March 30: Chinese Taipei’s Hsieh Chi-hsien hopes to continue his affinity with the National Golf Country Club when he defends his title at the US$150,000 Charming Yeangder ADT starting Thursday.

Bashundhara Bangladesh Open 2016

Hsieh Chi-hsien of Chinese Taipei

The 25-year-old Hsieh is in high spirits as he will be contending for the title again at a venue where he claimed his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) victory in 2012 and secured his second win 12 months ago.

Winning the last edition of the Charming Yeangder ADT was a boon for Hsieh as it pushed him to shine again on the region’s burgeoning Tour where he finished second on the 2015 ADT Order of Merit with a season’s haul of US$43,357.

His victory last year was made even more remarkable as it was his first event after staying away from competitive golf for about four months to work on his game.

“I have a lot of good memories coming back here. I came here without any expectations last year as I took a few months off to work on my game. But this week, I came here with better confidence.

“My friend is on the bag for me and he’s very familiar with this course. I feel pretty comfortable right now. I just want to enjoy my game and not think about my title defence yet. I am really looking forward to this week,” said Hsieh.

Hsieh made full use of his playing opportunities on the ADT last year where he earned his Asian Tour card for 2016 after finishing inside top-five on the Merit rankings. It was his first ever full card on the region’s premier Tour.

“The ADT is a very good and important platform for players like myself. Without the ADT, I wouldn’t have the chance to play on the Asian Tour now. Winning here last year was a turning point for me. It gave me more confidence which helped a lot in my golf career.

“The course conditions are slightly differently from last year. There seem to be more kinds of different grasses on the fairways this year. The greens are also dryer which makes it more difficult to control. The game’s feeling pretty good at the moment. I hope to perform well again this week,” added Hsieh.

Hsieh will spearhead the home charge alongside record five-time ADT winner Chan Shih-chang, Asian Tour stalwart Lin Wen-tang, Hung Chien-yao and Lee Chieh-po at the Charming Yeangder ADT, which is one of the richest event on the ADT this season.

Chikkarangappa S. of India

Chikkarangappa S. of India

They will face a strong international field from over 18 countries which include current Order of Merit leader Itthipat Buranatanyarat of Thailand, compatriot and 2014 Merit champion Pavit Tangkamolprasert, Phachara Khongwatmai, also of Thailand, American John Michael O’Toole, India’s Chikkarangappa S. and newly-crowned ADT winner George Gandranata of Indonesia.

Having won twice on home soil, Chikkarangappa will be eyeing a third ADT victory and first outside of India when he tees off for the Charming Yeangder ADT.

“This is my first time playing this golf course. I played a practice round yesterday and it looks great! It has a nice track here but the greens are looking very difficult. There are a lot of slopes on the greens and I think putting will play a big role this week. I enjoyed myself out there. Not every day you get to play in this kind of cooling weather!” said the 22-year-old Indian.

Phachara Khongwatmai of Thailand

Phachara Khongwatmai of Thailand

Phachara, who just won on home soil last week, also hopes to strike it hot in Chinese Taipei.

“I am feeling good about my game. It’s nice to be back here. I am always striving to win. I don’t know if I can do it or not but I will try my best. I will play shot by shot and we will see how it goes,” said the 16-year-old, who holds the record of being the youngest winner on ADT when he claimed his first ADT title last March.

The Charming Yeangder ADT will provide another opportunities for players to earn Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points, which will be key in qualifying for the Olympic Games taking place in Rio de Janeiro in August.

The Yeangder ADT, which was inaugurated in 2012, returned onto the ADT Schedule after a three-year absence in 2015, bearing a new title sponsor in Charming Hotel Group which continues to show its support for the event this season.

The ADT 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.

For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.

About the Asian Development Tour

The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world. Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players will qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Web.com Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the exciting world of international golf. The Asian Development Tour has been structured to ensure the best opportunities for its members. The leading five players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals. All ADT events receive Official World Golf Ranking points.