The fifth edition of the Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship is set to unearth future talents of the game when it returns onto the Asian Development Tour (ADT) schedule from July 31 to August 3.
The US$$110,000 event will be staged at the Ta Kang Shan Golf Course in Kaohsiung city and welcomes leading players from Taiwan who will challenge for top honours alongside an international mix of players from the ADT, which is the gateway to the premier Asian Tour.
Defending champion Iain Steel of Malaysia broke the local stronghold when he became the first international player to lift the Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship last year following victories by home favourites Lin Wen-tang (2010), Kao Shang-hung (2011) and Hsieh Chi-hsien (2012).
That triumph came on the back of his maiden ADT win in Malaysia a week earlier and also propelled the 43-year-old Malaysian up the merit rankings where he eventually finished third to earn his playing rights on the 2014 Asian Tour season.
Asian Tour Chairman Kyi Hla Han is confident the Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship will continue to see the emergence of new talents while providing aspiring professionals with a platform to develop their games.
“I would like to express our fullest appreciation to Ballantine’s for their title sponsorship of the Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship for the fifth successive year. We welcomed a worthy winner in Iain Steel last year and I’m confident we’ll continue to witness more new blood and talents emerging in this year’s edition.
“The championship is also one of the richest tournaments on our ADT schedule and I’m delighted it will continue to be a good career launch pad for Taiwanese and international players to gain access onto the Asian Tour,” said Han.
A host of players from Taiwan including Kao, Hsu Chia-jen, Chiang Chen-chih and Hsu Mong-nan have earned their Asian Tour cards by playing on the ADT since it was launched in 2010.
Tim Paech, Managing Director of Pernod Ricard Taiwan, believes the Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship will continue to be the platform to propel players onto the Asian Tour.
“We are delighted to continue our support of the Ballantine’s Taiwan Championship. This event will continue to showcase the emerging talents from the region and we look forward to welcoming all players to this prestigious event,” said Paech.
The burgeoning ADT, which was launched in 2010 with five tournaments before growing to eight in 2011, 13 in 2012 and a record 16 in the 2013 season, has established itself as a gateway to the Asian Tour.
This season, the ADT will reward the top five players on the final Order of Merit with playing rights for the 2015 Asian Tour season and also continue to offer Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points.