Phuket, May 24: In-form Mitchell Slorach of Singapore hopes to ride on his rich vein of form to challenge for a first Development Tour (ADT) title at the inaugural Singha Phuket Open which starts on Thursday.
The 29-year-old Singaporean will draw confidence from his commendable performance at the Thailand Open last week, where he finished in tied-20th place to mark his best result on the Asian Tour since turning professional in 2009.
Riding high on confidence, Slorach headed straight to Batam, Indonesia, for an event held on his local circuit and won his first professional title by two shots after the tournament concluded on Wednesday.
Slorach will get another shot at glory when he returns to Thailand to challenge against an elite cast which includes Order of Merit leader Brett Munson of the United States and second-placed Martin Dive of Australia at the Laguna Golf Phuket, a former host venue on the Asian Tour.
“I took a lot of positives from last week. My mental game was good. I didn’t finish the way I would have liked but I stayed strong throughout the week and I never gave up. I will try to do the same this week,” said Slorach, who sits in 35th place on the current Order of Merit.
“I have no expectations going to Phuket as I won’t be able to get a practice round prior to the start of the tournament. I am just going to stay strong mentally and hopefully maintain my good form this week,” Slorach added.
After missing two straight cuts on the Asian Tour, Thai prospect Pannakorn Uthaipas hopes to turn the corner with a good showing in the two million baht (approximately US$58,140) event, co-sanctioned by the ADT and the All Thailand Golf Tour.
“It was disappointing missing the marks on the Asian Tour but my game’s feeling good right now. My wrist injury has fully recovered and I am able to swing it like before now. The aim is to finish inside top-five on the money list to gain my Asian Tour card for 2018.
“Hopefully a good finish this week will put me closer to my target,” said the 26-year-old Thai, ranked 15th on the ADT Order of Merit. Pannakorn has not missed a single cut in four starts on the ADT this season. He enjoyed one top-10 result in Malaysia in March.
“I made my very first appearance on the Asian Tour on this course when I was still an amateur in 2009. The course has changed quite a bit since but it still feels good to be back here,” added Pannakorn.
South African Mathiam Keyser, a one-time winner on the ADT, is also eyeing one of the five coveted Asian Tour cards on offer this season. He ended the 2016 season with a ninth-place finish on the ADT Order of Merit, missing out on his Asian Tour card by three spots.
“I am playing in my fourth event in-a-row this week. I am hoping to finish off the stretch with a good result here. The season’s been rather slow for me, considering how well I played last year. The game, however, is in good shape so I’m looking forward to a good week here,” said the 30-year-old Keyser.
Thai hotshots Danthai Boonma, Poom Saksansin and Rattanon Wannasrichan, former ADT champions who have now won on the Asian Tour, will feature in the Singha Phuket Open alongside Thai legend Thaworn Wiratchant, a record 18-time winner on the region’s premier Tour.
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.