Wiratchant wins Asian Order of Merit
BY Bruce Young | 17 Dec 2012
Johor Bahru, Malaysia, December 17: Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant was the toast at the Asian Tour’s Awards Night when he swept the Players’ Player of the Year Award and Special Achievement Award to go with his historic second Order of Merit crown.
The veteran Thai star, who turns 46 later this month, also picked up the Birdie Leader Award on Sunday night with his haul of 346 birdies throughout a sensational season which saw him lift three titles – the Queen’s Cup in Thailand, Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters and Hero Indian Open – and four runner-up finishes en route to becoming the oldest ever Merit winner on the Asian Tour.
Thaworn was delighted to earn the votes from his peers for the prestigious Players’ Player of the Year Award while the Special Achievement Award was determined through a selection committee which included golf writers from Asia and Tour officials.
“I’m really happy. I’m an old man already and the players still picked me as their Players’ Player of the Year. It was also nice to win the Special Achievement Award which means a lot to me. Tonight feels as good as 2005,” said Thaworn referring to the year when he was crowned Asia’s number one for the first time.
“I want to thank the Asian Tour, the officials and all the players for their support. This is a special night,” added Thaworn after the Awards Night which was held at the Puteri Pacific Hotel here.
Thaworn, who earned a five-year exemption on the Asian Tour for his Merit success along with exemptions into the British Open and World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship in 2013, wrapped up his magical season at the US$2 million Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia with a tied fifth finish, which took his year’s earnings to US$738,046.
Japan’s Masanori Kobayashi, who won the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open on home soil and finished tied fifth in Johor, picked up the Rookie of the Year Award after his memorable season. He earned his Tour card at Qualifying School in Thailand in January before finishing fourth on the Order of Merit with US$471,079.
The Amata Spring Country Club, which hosted the Thailand Golf Championship earlier this month, was voted by the players as the Best Golf Course in 2012, narrowly edging Sentosa Golf Club which hosted the Barclays Singapore Open in November.
The Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club in Korea was picked as the Host Venue of the Year for its impressive facilities, services and F&B on offer during the CJ Invitational hosted by KJ Choi.
Australia’s Marcus Fraser, who finished second on the Order of Merit, scooped up two awards, the Lowest Stroke Average with his impressive season’s scoring of 69.27 and also the Lowest Putting Average Award with 1.71 putts per green in regulation.
Scott Hend of Australia earned bragging rights by winning the Driving Distance category with an average driving distance of 314 yards throughout the 2012 season. He also won this award in 2009 and 2010.
Brazil’s Adilson Da Silva was adjudged the straightest driver on Tour when he won the Driving Accuracy Award with 79% of fairways hit and Felipe Aguilar of Chile hit the most greens in collecting up the Greens in Regulation Award with a 79% strike rate.
The season-finale Iskandar Johor Open was named the Tournament of the Year after delivering a drama-packed conclusion to the 2012 season and Spaniard Javi Colomo was the winner for the Volvik Best Dressed Golfer of the Year.
Asian Tour’s 2012 Roll of Honour
Order of Merit Winner: Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha)
Players’ Player of the Year: Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha)
Special Achievement Award: Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha)
Rookie of the Year: Masanori Kobayashi (Jpn)
Lowest Stroke Average: Marcus Fraser (Aus) 69.27
Driving Distance: Scott Hend (Aus) 314 yards
Driving Accuracy: Adilson Da Silva (Brz) 79%
Birdie Leader: Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha) 346 birdies
Greens in Regulation: Felipe Aguilar (Chi) 79%
Lowest Putting Average: Marcus Fraser (Aus) 1.71
Volvik Best Dressed Award: Javi Colomo (Esp)
Best Golf Course: Amata Spring Country Club, Thailand
Host Venue of the Year: Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club, Korea
Tournament of the Year: Iskandar Johor Open
Discuss this article in our forums