What remains unknown, is the winner of the Asian Tour Rookie of the Year award.

2018 has seen a group of exciting, skilful and talented new faces on Tour, with South Africa’s Justin Harding and Korea’s Sanghyun Park leading the charge. Both players have enjoyed a wildly successful first year on Tour and they are in line to win the coveted award, which will be handed out at the conclusion of this week’s US$750,000 BNI Indonesian Masters.

Harding made a spectacular entrance to the Asian Tour in July this year at the Bank BRI Indonesia Open. He received an invitation to the tournament by virtue of his outstanding form on the Sunshine Tour, and he displayed that same, blistering form en route to his maiden Asian Tour victory in Jakarta. The South African took up Tour membership on the spot.

Two weeks later he won the Royal Cup in Thailand, making him the first golfer in Tour history to win two times in as many starts. At the same time, the 32-year-old Harding broke into the top-100 on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) and earned a spot to play at the US PGA Championship.

Harding trails Park by US$82,000 on the Habitat for Humanity Standings. PHOTO: Supplied/Asian Tour.

Harding continued to wow fans with his brilliant performances throughout the year. Highlights include his second-place finish at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup as well as top-10s in Chinese Taipei and Mauritius. He is currently placed third on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings, about US$82,000 behind Park.

Park banked on the familiarity of the conditions in his home country to achieve immense success on the Asian Tour. He has been dominant in Korea, having won the GS Caltex Maekyung Open, coming in second place at the Kolon Korean Open and winning his second Asian Tour title in 2018 at the Shinhan Donghae Open.

The 35-year-old then rode on the back of his outstanding form into the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup and the Mercuries Taiwan Masters, where he was placed tied-fourth and tied-ninth respectively. If anything, the results proved that he is no slouch either when he’s on foreign soil.

These two worthy candidates will be looking to end their season on a high.

Both Harding and Park will be teeing up this week at Royale Jakarta, where they will be up against an elite field that includes defending champion and World No.2 Justin Rose, major winner Henrik Stenson as well as some of Asian Tour’s best players such as Sharma and breakout star, John Catlin of the United States.

Top-20 players on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings

Pos     Player     Order of Merit (US$)

1 Shubhankar SHARMA (IND) $755,994

2 Sanghyun PARK (KOR) $561,899

3 Justin HARDING (RSA) $479,816

4 Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) $422,937

5 Scott VINCENT (ZIM) $420,888

6 John CATLIN (USA) $394,603

7 Sihwan KIM (USA) $373,009

8 Kurt KITAYAMA (USA) $369,346

9 Rahil GANGJEE (IND) $302,629

10 Minchel CHOI (KOR) $286,556

11 Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) $284,809

12 Berry HENSON (USA) $283,702

13 Adilson DA SILVA (BRA) $262,115

14 Paul PETERSON (USA) $244,888

15 Miguel TABUENA (PHI) $232,853

16 Khalin JOSHI (IND) $226,432

17 Yikeun CHANG (KOR) $209,503

18 Shaun NORRIS (RSA) $206,544

19 Prom MEESAWAT (THA) $189,611

20 Danthai BOONMA (THA) $182,158