Chang Hwa, Chinese Taipei, October 15: Young talent Hung Chien-yao of Chinese Taipei is determined to put up a strong defence of his Chang Hwa Open title when the Asian Development Tour (ADT) event tees off on Thursday.
Hung is looking for a hat-trick of victories having first lifted the Chang Hwa Open title when it was still part of the domestic circuit in 2011 and extending his winning run when the event was re-launched as an ADT event last year.
The 22-year-old Hung will spearhead the local challenge alongside veteran 2000 Malaysian Open winner, Yeh Wei-tze and two-time Asian Tour winner Chan Yih-shin at the US$100,000 event.
Thai duo Pavit Tangkamolprasert and Sattaya Supupramai, American Brett Munson and Niall Turner of Ireland, who sit inside the top-five on the current Order of Merit, will also headline the 15th ADT Chang Hwa Open, which is the 18th leg of the ADT season.
Also in the fray are Malaysia’s Arie Irawan, England’s Grant Jackson, James Byrne of Scotland, Nils Floren of Sweden as well as Singaporean duo Choo Tze Huang and Koh Deng Shan, who form part of the international cast from 17 countries vying for honours at the Chang Hwa Golf Club.
Hung has enjoyed an encouraging season so far without missing a single cut in five starts on the Asian Tour. His best result on the ADT this season was a fourth-place finish at the Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship held earlier in August.
Hung, who plays mainly on the Asian Tour, hopes to draw on memories of his past victories to establish himself as a genuine contender for the Chang Hwa Open again.
“It’s great coming back here to defend my title again. I’ve been looking forward to it but I won’t give myself too much pressure this week. I will just play my best and we will see how it goes,” said Hung.
“The season was not too bad for me so far. I haven’t played really good but I’ve had some decent results. Hopefully I can play better in the remaining tournaments on the Asian Tour so as to break into top-60 on the merit rankings at the end of the season to secure my card for 2015,” added Hung, who is currently ranked 72nd on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
Munson, who has been battling with a poor run of form recently, hopes to turn his fortunes around as he chases his second ADT victory this week.
“I haven’t been doing anything very well recently. My ball striking has been a little off and my putting was poor. I have been practising a lot but it has been raining for the past week back home in Hua Hin. I’m not feeling really confident coming to this week but this is golf. You never know what will happen when you get out there,” said the 28-year-old Munson.
“The season’s been good so far. I had a good start to the season with my first ADT win in Malaysia and I’ve played pretty solid in most of the events. My aim is to remain in top-five on the merit rankings till the end of the season so as to secure my Asian Tour card for 2015,” added Munson, placed third on the current ADT Order of Merit.
The Chang Hwa Open will be the ADT’s third and final stop in Chinese Taipei this season, following the successful staging of the Taifong Open and Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship in July and August respectively.
Since its inauguration in 2010, the ADT has grown from five events in the first year to a record 21 tournaments in 2014. The top-five finishers on the Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn Asian Tour cards for 2015.
All ADT events also receive Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status which is a boost for the game in the region.