Indian golfers put up a stellar show with S.S.P. Chowrasia and Rashid Khan coming off impressive wins in India and Thailand respectively in the past fortnight to move inside the top-10 on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
The duo along with five-time Asian Tour winner Anirban Lahiri are the three Indians who now feature prominently on the money list as the region’s premier Tour heads into its exciting stretch of the season where the battle for the merit crown intensifies.
Like Lahiri’s victory in Indonesia earlier in the year, Khan also won his first title outside India with a battling performance that saw him pip Thailand’s Thanyakon Khrongpha and compatriot Jyoti Randawa by one-shot at the Chiangmai Golf Classic presented by PTT over the weekend.
The 23-year-old used to find success on the Asian Tour elusive having suffered the agony of missing out on his Tour card at Qualifying School for three consecutive years since 2011.
However he took advantage of limit playing opportunities and finally earned his career breakthrough on home soil at the season-opening SAIL-SBI Open presented by Incredible India.
Khan would then follow that up by winning again in Chiangmai.
Khan, who missed the cut at the Alpine Golf Resort Chiangmai just 12 months ago, credited his second Asian Tour win to perseverance, hard work and exposure.
“This win is really special because it is my second win this year and first outside of India. It was a really good week.
“I’m learning every single day. I’m playing on different courses on the Asian Tour. I played on this golf course last year and missed the cut by one shot. I played more golf courses for the first time on the Asian Tour and I learnt a lot from there. That experience really helped,” said Khan, who rose to eighth place on the money list with US$232,407.
Chowrasia trails Khan by slightly over US$15,000 in ninth place, thanks largely to his third Asian Tour win at the Panasonic Open India a fortnight ago.
It was his ‘never-say-die’ attitude that hauled the 36-year-old back into the winner’s circle after a three-year absence.
“After the Avanatha Masters win, I was working hard for another win to boost my confidence. It was almost three years. I take a lot of positives from this win.
Having lost his European Tour card as well, Chowrasia dug deep and found that much-needed self-belief to get him going again.
“Even though I lost my card on the European Tour, I was still high on confidence. I learnt various shots on the European Tour and it was a great experience to play against the top players.
“Whenever I lose something, I wait for something better to happen. I had the belief to win on the Asian Tour again,” said Chowrasia.
Thanyakon meanwhile reaped the benefits of a solid performance over the weekend by making one of the biggest moves on the Order of Merit to jump to 29th place.
“Overall, I am very happy with my result because it’s only my fifth tournament on the Asian Tour this season. I am very proud with my performance.
I fought hard out there but Rashid deserves this win. I am also glad to save my card for next season,” said Thanyakon.
Asian Tour Order of Merit – Top-20
Pos Player Earnings (US$)
1. David LIPSKY (USA) $682,610.10
2. Anirban LAHIRI (IND) $521,104.21
3. Prom MEESAWAT (THA) $453,512.84
4. Cameron SMITH (AUS) $427,476.26
5. Angelo QUE (PHI) $379,855.79
6. Scott HEND (AUS) $355,982.27
7. Antonio LASCUNA (PHI) $244,363.44
8. Rashid KHAN (IND) $232,407.66
9. S.S.P. CHOWRASIA (IND) $217,392.36
10. Jason KNUTZON (USA) $209,121.43
11. Rikard KARLBERG (SWE) $205,427.74
12. Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) $199,485.82
13. Steve LEWTON (ENG) $195,964.29
14. BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR) $188,818.20
15. Rahil GANGJEE (IND) $173,040.42
16. Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND) $170,946.97
17. Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) $163,687.31
18. Chapchai NIRAT (THA) $155,076.57
19. Adilson DA SILVA (BRA) $121,018.66
20. Marcus BOTH (AUS) $102,103.57
Source: Asian Tour