Lahore, October 31: Pannakorn Uthaipas of Thailand will dig deep into his reserve energy when he contends at the inaugural Defence Raya Golf Championship which starts on Thursday.
Pannakorn, the current Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit leader, will play in his seventh straight event and admits that he is running low on energy ahead of the US$120,000 ADT event.
“I’m feeling a bit tired but it felt very nice to receive such a warm welcome here in Pakistan. My energy is a little bit low but my game is still good. This is an important week. I hope I can have a good finish like last week,” said Pannakorn.
It will be an important week in the Order of Merit race as Masaru Takahashi of Japan, Wang Wei-lun of Chinese Taipei and Nattawat Suvajanakorn of Thailand, all ranked inside the top-four, will be playing at the Defence Raya Golf and Country Club. The leading five players on the final Order of Merit will earn an Asian Tour card for 2018.
Pannakorn won his first ADT title at the Taifong Open in Chinese Taipei in June and he will be aiming for a second victory in Pakistan after finishing second in Malaysia last week.
“After I won, I started to put more pressure on myself but now I’m taking things easier. My goal is the same which is to finish inside the top-five (on the Order of Merit). I think I’m safe but I want to finish on top the Order of Merit. That will make my family and I very happy,” he said.
This is Pannakorn’s first visit to the country and he is looking forward to the week after receiving a warm welcome at the airport and at the hotel at Defence Raya GCC.
“When I first turned professional, I never thought I will be playing in Pakistan but there is a first time for everything. When we arrived at the airport, we felt so welcome. I’m really looking forward to the week,” said the big-hitting Thai.
Japan’s Takahashi hopes to continue his fine form as he searches for a third ADT title. He won his second title in August in Malaysia to end a four-year title drought and qualified for the Japan Golf Tour Qualifying School final stage after a successful outing at third stage last week.
“I want to be the Order of Merit winner and to do that, I need to finish number three or number two here. Of course if I win that will be even better,” Takahashi smiled. “I feel comfortable here. We have a nice hotel and the people are friendly, I think it will be a good week.”
The flamboyant Wang, who won the Charming Yeangder ADT in July, hopes to cement his position inside the top-five on the Order of Merit with a good result this week. He is currently ranked third.
“I’m feeling a bit tired so I need to take it easy,” Wang explained. “It hasn’t been easy since I won but I need to accept bad or good shots. If I hit a bad shot, I need to tell myself, ‘it is okay’ and move on.”
All ADT events are afforded Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status. The winner of each tournament receives a minimum of six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points on a sliding scale.
The leading five players on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2018 season.
For more information on the ADT, please visit www.asiandevelopmenttour.com.
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.