After scaling the Swiss summit, Korean-American David Lipsky now hopes to conquer another lofty goal by winning the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit this season.
The 26-year-old secured his career’s biggest victory yet with a terrific play-off triumph over Graeme Storm at the Omega European Masters to surpass previous leader Anirban Lahiri of India at the top of the Asian Tour rankings with his season’s haul of US$645,770.
His second Asian Tour win saw Lipsky join an illustrious list of champions at the Omega European Masters which includes Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Ian Woosnam, Colin Montgomerie and Nick Price.
He also became only the second American after Craig Stadler to taste victory in the only tournament on European soil to be jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
“Winning the (Asian Tour) Order of Merit was one of my goals when I started out the year and to be in the position that I’m in right now, I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of the season both in Europe and in Asia,” said Lipsky, who earned a cheque of US$504,057.
His rise to the top has been rapid. And the stunning Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club, which is set amidst the Swiss Alps, offered the perfect backdrop.
After graduating from Northwestern University in Chicago where he majored in political science, Lipsky announced his arrival in the professional golf scene by winning the Asian Tour’s Qualifying School in 2012. Then in only his third event, he enjoyed his career breakthrough with a play-off triumph at the Handa Faldo Cambodian Classic before ending his rookie season in 11th position on the Order of Merit.
Before his triumph at the Omega European Masters, Lipsky, whose mother is Korean, enjoyed two top-10s earlier in the year, including a tied second at The Championship in Singapore, which is co-sanctioned by the Asian and European Tours.
He said the region’s premier Tour has been instrumental in his rise in stature. “It has done everything for me. I started out on the Asian Tour and I won there. It really developed me as a player and I’m still looking forward to playing out in Asia. With my status on the European Tour, I just have to think about my schedule a little bit more,” said Lipsky, who is poised to qualify for the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China and CIMB Classic in Malaysia, which offer a combined US$15.5 million, later this year.
While the hefty winner’s cheque has placed Lipsky in a strong position to win the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, his immediate thoughts were simply to keep his bank manager happy.
“I’ve got lots of loans to pay off! There’s my study loan, car loan and it’s timely I’ve got a nice pay cheque this week,” smiled Lipsky.
Lahiri, who finished a commendable tied 13th in Switzerland after closing with a superb 64 on Sunday, finds himself trailing the new Merit leader by some US$357,897 as the Asian Tour enters its business-end of the season. He lamented a poor start to his week and knows he must start playing catch-up now.
“I definitely needed this result (64) as it has been a tough week. I played well but I haven’t scored. It was very important to pick myself up after the opening 70. I played flawless golf in the first 10 holes where I was three-under and really, I should have played much better right through the week,” said the Indian star, who has earned US$287,873 this season.
“I’m sure I’m going to kick on from here. I’ve had a good first half (of the season) but that’s over and it’s time to focus on the second half and winning the Order of Merit is certainly one of my goals. I’m playing well enough to do well and I want to win and not just play during the weekend. There’s a lot of golf left and consistency will be the key for me.”
The Asian Tour heads to the US$500,000 Yeangder Tournament Players Championship at the Linkou International Golf and Country Club in Taipei this week.
Asian Tour Order of Merit – Top-20
Pos Player Earnings (US$)
1. David LIPSKY (USA) 645,770
2. Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 287,873
3. Rikard KARLBERG (SWE) 153,440
4. Rahil GANGJEE (IND) 113,508
5. BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR) 109,134
6. Richard T. LEE (CAN) 974,38
7. S.S.P CHOWRASIA (IND) 87,457
8. Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) 85,098
9. Siddikur RAHMAN (BAN) 79,879
10. Rashid KHAN (IND) 77,697
11. Jason KNUTZON (USA) 76,030
12. Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 76,011
13. Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 69,770
14. Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 65,989
15. Cameron SMITH (AUS) 65,850
16. Marcus BOTH (AUS) 65,084
17. Shiv KAPUR (IND) 63,221
18. Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 61,833
19. Masahiro KAWAMURA (JPN) 59,746
20. Wade ORMSBY (AUS) 57,043
Source: Asian Tour