Pannakorn and Takahashi star in Sabah

Sabah, Malaysia, September 19: Masaru Takahashi of Japan and Pannakorn Uthaipas of Thailand will be among the top contenders at the PGM EurAsia Cup Sabah Championship which gets underway on Wednesday.

Takahashi and Pannakorn, the top two golfers on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit, will battle for honours against a talented field which includes John Catlin of the United States, Oskar Arvidsson of Sweden and Hsieh Chi-hsien of Chinese Taipei.

Arie Irawan, a former ADT winner, will spearhead the local challenge alongside Airil Rizman, R. Nachimuthu, Sukree Othman and S. Murthy at the Sabah Golf and Country Club. The ADT event offers a prize purse of RM200,000 (approximately US$44,600).

Takahashi, who won his second ADT title in Indonesia last month, currently leads the Merit rankings with earnings on US$36,410 but Pannakorn has a good chance to overtake the Japanese as he trails in second place by slightly more than US$2,000.

Takahashi is enjoying a good run of form where he has not finished outside the top-10 in six starts which includes one victory. He will be aiming for back-to-back wins in Sabah this week and extend his Order of Merit lead.

The big-hitting Pannakorn won his first ADT title in Chinese Taipei in June. It was his career’s biggest victory to date after coming close on so many occasions. Another solid result or win this week will give him an extra edge to secure an Asian Tour card for next season.

The top-five players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn playing rights on the region’s premier Tour next year.

“I was very happy when I won. I was waiting for the win for a long time and I finally proved that I can do it. Now I hope to continue my form and finish inside the top-five on the Order of Merit,” said Pannakorn.

By featuring on the ADT schedule, the PGM EurAsia Sabah Championship will offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner will receive six OWGR points while the top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.

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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 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.