A total of 17 Asian Tour members currently occupy positions in the top-200 of the Official World Golf Ranking, which cements the region’s growing presence in world golf.
Korea’s Jeunghun Wang is the highest ranked Asian Tour member at world number 63, followed by India’s Anirban Lahiri who is ranked 66th. Thai legend Thongchai Jaidee (89th) and Korea’s KT. Kim (96th) round up the Asian Tour’s presence in the top-100.
Reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Scott Hend of Australia slipped out of the top-100 for the first time this season where he slipped down to 101st position in the latest ranking.
Other Asian Tour stars occupying spots in the world’s top-200 include Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand (106th), Korea’s Younghan Song (108th), American David Lipsky (113rd), Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg (150th), Japan’s Shugo Imahira (157th), Phachara Khongwatmai of Thailand (173rd), Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand (175th), India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar (176th), S.S.P. Chawrasia of India (190th), Australian Marcus Fraser (191st), Jbe Kruger of South Africa (196th) and Australian Andrew Dodt (198th).
The biggest mover amongst the Asian Tour contingent this season is the 21-year-old Jazz, who ended his 2016 season in 370th position but has since risen by nearly 200 rungs following his maiden win at the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open and three consecutive top-10s including a recent runner-up finish at the Queen’s Cup on home soil.
Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama is the highest ranked Asian golfer at world number two where he trails current number one Dustin Johnson of the United States by some four average points.
Former Asian Tour chairman Han launches design firm
Kyi Hla Han has officially launched his golf course architecture company
After serving 13 years as chairman of the Asian Tour, Kyi Hla Han has launched his design firm with the opening of The Dalat in Vietnam. “I am ready to embark on a new personal venture that follows my passion after enjoying the last two decades working with the Pro tours.” Kyi Hla was a pioneer of Asian Golf having played regularly in Europe in the mid 80s when few Asian players had ever appeared there.
An Associate Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation, the company is the only Asian-based signature design entity operating in asia which ensures clients have personal oversight during the design and build process with response to any issues.
As company principal, Han brings international design insight inspired by his 25-year career as a touring professional, playing on the Asian, European, Japanese and Australian PGA Tours. In 1999 he topped the Asian Tour Order of Merit standings.
Han also played a significant role in the formation of the Asian Tour in 2004. He remains a director on the board. Recent Han Golf Design rojects which have received acclaim include a signature co-design role in Mandalay Myotha Golf Club in Myanmar. He is currently in pre-planning with a large multi-use coastal resort in western Myanmar. He has been a recipient of the (United States) National Golf Builder of the Year Award.
LAHIRI QUALIFIES FOR THE OPEN
Indian star Anirban Lahiri will play in his first Major tournament in 2017 after qualifying for The Open which will be staged at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club next week.
The 2015 Asian Tour number one qualified for the year’s third Major championship after Scott Piercy of the United States withdrew from the tournament.
This will be Lahiri’s fifth appearance after playing at The Open in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016. His best result in the tournament was in 2015 when he finished in a share of 30th place. He also shot a hole-in-one in the third round of The Open in his debut in 2012 before settling for tied 31st place.
“Major relief! Super excited to be teeing up at Royal Birkdale next week @TheOpen,” tweeted the world number 66.
Lahiri has enjoyed a solid season in 2017 so far. His highlights include a second place finish at the Memorial Tournament on the PGA Tour. The Indian has also enjoyed top-10 results at the Hero Indian Open and Maybank Championship in Malaysia, both events sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour earlier this year.
Lahiriwill be joined by a strong line-up of Asian Tour stars including countryman Shiv Kapur at Royal Birkdale from July 20 to 23.
Thongchai Jaidee, Jeunghun Wang, Phachara Khongwatmai, K.T. Kim, Scott Hend, Prayad Marksaeng, Jbe Kruger, Yikeun Chang, Kim Giwhan, Younghan Song and current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader David Lipsky will also feature in the event.