Asian Tour heavyweights are expected to make the King’s Cup an intriguing affair when the US$500,000 event tees off at the Singha Park Khon Kaen Golf Club on Thursday.
The presence of seven of the top-10 players on the Asian Tour Order of Merit will give the King’s Cup top billing with the red carpet already rolled out to welcome the arrival of the region’s best players in Khon Kaen, northeast of Bangkok.
All eyes will be on India’s Anirban Lahiri who is seeking to secure the winner’s prize purse worth US$90,000 and close the gap on Korean-American David Lipsky whom he trails by slightly over US$160,000.
The 27-year-old Indian looks set to be the man to beat as he is having the form of his life, winning twice on the Asian Tour this season and earning his playing rights for Europe last week.
“I’m really happy with my result last week but I’m focused on what I need to do here and I still got a great chance to win the Order of Merit and that would really make it a perfect year,” said Lahiri.
Apart from a win this week, Lahiri is also targeting to break into the top-50 on the world rankings by the end of the year.
“I’m committed to bettering my world ranking and trying to chase David down would probably go hand in hand because I’ve to do well in these last few events to push into that top-50 spot. There’s a lot to play for obviously and motivation going into these last few weeks,” said the Indian.
Philippines’ Angelo Que is looking to bounce back from the disappointment of missing the cut on home soil last week and put in a much improved performance at the King’s Cup.
“Last week was just one week. These things happen, no matter how good you’re playing. You can miss the cut even though you’re having a good run.
“Actually, I’m just enjoying the moment and not putting too much pressure on myself. I’m having a good year and there’s nothing more to it,” said Que.
Crediting his laid-back attitude, Que has been enjoying a good run of form which included a second and tied-eighth finish in Hong Kong and Malaysia respectively in the weeks leading up to the King’s Cup.
“I’ve been playing better since I’ve adopted a carefree attitude. You cannot control the future and what you can control is what’s happening now.
“What I’m trying to do right now is to stay in the present, stick to my plan and if something comes along, you grab it. Good things will happen if you stay patient and appreciate what comes your way,” said the 35-year-old.
Australia’s Scott Hend, who denied Que his return to the winner’s circle in Hong Kong, is also upbeat of his chances ahead of this week’s King’s Cup.
A multiple winner with six victories on the Asian Tour, Hend believes the lucrative stretch of events over the coming weeks will bring out the best in him.
“It was nice to win my first co-sanctioned event with the European Tour in Hong Kong and I’m trying to get one more win before the year is over.
“I play more consistently over a lengthy period and that’s when I play my best. I’m pretty much set to play most of the tournaments all the way through and it’s good to have that nice run with lots of good courses coming up and countries to visit,” said Hend.
No less than 20 Asian Tour champions including merit champion, Thaworn Wiratchant, Singapore’s Mardan Mamat, Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman and India’s Rashid Khan are also expected to headline the King’s Cup.
Apart from the Asian Tour Qualifying School held in January this season, the King’s Cup is one of four events to feature in Thailand on the Asian Tour Schedule.
Source: Asian Tour