Phuket, May 23: Promising talent Daeng Abdul Rahman of Malaysia hopes to make it a week to remember when he makes his first Asian Development Tour (ADT) appearance outside of his home country at the inaugural Singha Phuket Open on Thursday.
The 17-year-old Daeng, who turned professional in March, will be joined by American Brett Munson and Martin Dive of Australia, placed first and second respectively on the current Order of Merit, in the two million baht (approximately US$58,140) ADT event.
They will face a stiff challenge from the home front, spearheaded Asian Tour veteran Thaworn Wiratchant, Danthai Boonma, Poom Saksansin, Chinnarat Phadungsil and Rattanon Wannasrichan, all winners on the Asian Tour, at the highly-rated Laguna Golf Phuket.
Daeng, who hailed from Johor, showed glimpses of his potential when he claimed a top-10 finish on the ADT in March, two weeks after joining the play-for-pay ranks. He impressed again by winning his first professional title on the domestic Tour one month later.
Prior to turning professional, Daeng has enjoyed a successful amateur career, winning a professional tournament on his local circuit when he was still an amateur at a record young age of 15.
“I arrived in Phuket yesterday and came straight to play 18 holes here. Some holes are quite short out there but you need to be cautious of the wind. If I can handle the wind, I should be able to score. This is my first ADT event overseas so I am very excited.
“I have had a great start to my professional career, winning my first professional title in just my second start on home soil. I am hoping to go one step further now so the next aim is to win on the ADT,” said Daeng, who sits in a current 34th place on the ADT Order of Merit.
“It’s not going to be an easy week, playing against such a strong field, especially the top professionals from Thailand. Having said that, it won’t be too much of a pressure for me. I just want to focus on my game,” added the former National top amateur.
Playing in his fourth start on the secondary circuit this week, Dive is targeting a good showing to cement his place inside top-five on the Merit rankings, which will earn him playing rights on the Asian Tour next season.
He signaled his arrival in Asia by winning the ADT season-opener in Malaysia in January and capping a top-five finish last month.
“This is my first time here in Phuket and it’s been good so far. I am very looking forward to the week ahead. It’s my first year playing in Asia and although I missed out in the Qualifying School in January, I am happy to achieve some good results on the ADT,” said the 31-year-old Dive.
Munson will be looking to build on his recent run of good form to extend his Merit lead with a third victory on the ADT and a second one this season. He enjoyed a commendable outing at the Asian Tour’s Thailand Open last week where he finished in tied-20th position.
“I am feeling rather relaxed coming into this week. It just feels like a holiday here in Phuket. I am happy with the way in played last week. I shot a nine-under-par 62 in the third round and that. Hopefully I can carry on that good form this week,” said the 30-year-old American.
Thai duo Jakraphan Presirigorn and Panuwat Muenlek, placed fourth and fifth respectively on the ADT money list, will also form part of the 144-man field from 18 different countries alongside Janne Kaske of Finland, James Byrne of Scotland and Chinese Taipei’s Hsieh Chi-hsien.
The inaugural Singha Phuket Open, co-sanctioned by the ADT and the All Thailand Golf Tour, is the ADT’s first stop in Thailand this season.
By featuring on the ADT schedule, the event will receive Official World Golf Ranking status, with the winner receiving a minimum of six points and the top-six players and ties earning points on a sliding scale.
About 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.