Australian Marcus Fraser has jumped into the top spot on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit after finishing tied second in the Omega European Masters in Switzerland.
Fraser earned US$174,354 at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club to increase his season’s tally to US$448,710, some US$8,500 ahead of previous leader Jbe Kruger of South Africa. This is the first time that Kruger has slipped out of the number one slot after winning the Avantha Masters in India earlier in the season.
Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant continued to hold third place with US$215,113 despite missing the weekend rounds in Switzerland but will have a chance to make up ground in this week’s RM1.2 million (approximately US$395,000) Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters in Malaysia where he is the highest ranked player in the field.
Fraser is now aiming to become the first Australian to win the prestigious Order of Merit crown. Two years ago, he also challenged for top honours before settling for second place behind Korea’s Noh Seung-yul.
“This event (Omega European Masters), being a co-sanctioned event with the Asian Tour means a lot,” said Fraser, who signed off the week with a 66 to finish four shots behind winner Richie Ramsay of Scotland.
“I look forward to the next few weeks playing in Japan and the big events in Asia. I want to play my minimum in Asia this year like what I’ve done the last couple of years. I love playing in Asia as well and the reason why this event is so nice to me is because it counts on both money list and so it’s a pretty cool week,” he added.
He credited a hot putter for his good run in Switzerland. “It was great. I played really poorly the first couple of days and putted great. Then as the week went on, I got better and better and I couldn’t be happier. I finally found some form and it has been a good,” he said.
“It was nice to gradually gain some momentum through the week and find some form as the week went on. It could have been better for sure. Yesterday (third round) was a bit disappointing. I finished pretty poorly as I think I was like three-over the last seven holes. That probably cost me the chance of winning the tournament.”
Fraser will next feature on the Asian Tour in the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open in Japan later this month and he hopes to reinforce his position at the summit of the Merit list.
The Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters, which is being hosted at the Kota Permai Golf and Country Club in Shah Alam, starts on Wednesday with no fewer than 10 players from the current top-20 of the rankings in the elite field.
Asian Tour’s Order of Merit – Top-20
Pos Player Earnings (US$)
1. Marcus FRASER (AUS) 448,710
2. Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 440,253
3. Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 215,113
4. David LIPSKY (USA) 210,428
5. Prom MEESAWAT (THA) 178,858
6. Felipe AGUILAR (CHI) 174,911
7. Anirban LAHIRI (IND) 159,741
8. Scott HEND (AUS) 147,075
9. SIDDIKUR (BAN) 146,880
10. Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA) 117,102
11. Scott BARR (AUS) 103,945
12. Mardan MAMAT (SIN) 101,724
13. Ben FOX (USA) 95,760
14. Jeev Milkha SINGH (IND) 91,135
15. Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) 88,107
16. Berry HENSON (USA) 86,778
17. MO Joong-kyung (KOR) 73,892
18. Kieran PRATT (AUS) 71,504
19. Shiv KAPUR (IND) 69,655
20. Chapchai NIRAT (THA) 68,752