Jakraphan primed to challenge for #TaifongOpen title

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Jakraphan Premsirigorn of Thailand

Jakraphan Premsirigorn of Thailand

Changhwa, Chinese Taipei, June 20: Thailand’s Jakraphan Premsirigorn is seeking to continue his resurgence as he chases for a long-awaited second Asian Development Tour (ADT) victory at the US$160,000 Taifong Open which starts on Thursday.

The 26-year-old Jakraphan, who claimed his maiden ADT win in his rookie year in 2013, will spearhead an elite 150-man field from 18 different countries at the highly-acclaimed Taifong Golf Course from June 22 to 25.

Jakraphan will feature in the fourth edition of the Taifong Open, hailed as the richest event on the schedule, alongside ADT Order of Merit leader Brett Munson of the United States, as well as Martin Dive of Australia and Malaysia’s Ben Leong, placed second and fourth respectively.

Jakraphan has not missed a single cut in five starts on the region’s secondary circuit so far this season. He sits in fifth place on the Order of Merit with a current haul of US$8,085, thanks largely to a runner-up finish in Malaysia in February.

The talented Thai claimed his maiden victory on the All Thailand Golf Tour a fortnight ago before marking his best ever finish on the Asian Tour with a tied-15th place result at the Queen’s Cup last week.

“This is a very challenging golf course. It gets very windy out there and the greens are tough. The game is feeling very good at the moment. I won on my domestic circuit two weeks ago and played well at the Queen’s Cup last week. I am feeling very confident now,” said Jakraphan.

Jakraphan credited his return to form to a new coach who helped him with his swing and the hard work that he had put in for his short game. Jakraphan finished in tied-24th position at the inaugural Taifong Open three years ago. He did not play in the last two editions.

“The target is to finish inside top-five on the Order of Merit at the end of the season to secure my Asian Tour card for 2018. I am in a good position right now, hopefully a good result this week will boost my rankings further,” Jakraphan added.

Liu Yan-wei of China

Liu Yan-wei of China

China’s upcoming talent Liu Yan-wei is eager to make his debut at the Taifong Open, which is also his first tournament in Chinese Taipei since turning professional in 2015.

“It’s my first time here. I have heard that the golf courses in Chinese Taipei are very challenging because of the wind. I finally experienced it for myself today. The fairways are pretty narrow and it’s very hilly out there. Course management will be key.

“I have not set any targets for myself. I just want to prepare well for the tournament these two days and play it to my best ability this week. Hopefully a good result this week will boost my rankings on the Order of Merit,” said the 19-year-old Liu, placed 10th on the current money list.

American John Catlin hopes his hard work will pay off as he chases for a second win on the ADT, which was inaugurated as a gateway to the premier Asian Tour in 2010.

John Catlin of the United States

John Catlin of the United States

“The game’s shaping up nicely for this week. I have been practicing hard for the last three weeks. I am happy to be back. It’s a very hilly course. The greens are good and with putting being a strong point of my game, I hope it will help me this week,” said the 26-year-old Catlin.

Other notable players who will tee up in the fourth edition of the Taifong Open include defending champion Johannes Veerman of the United States, three-time ADT winner Panuwat Muenlek of Thailand, Chinese Taipei stalwarts Lu Wei-chih and Lin Wen-tang.

All ADT events are afforded with Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status. The winner of the Taifong Open will take home a prize purse of US$28,000 and receive six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points on a sliding scale.

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

Ends.

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.