Argentina’s Miguel Carballo officially clinched the prestigious Order of Merit crown following the conclusion of the season-ending event on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) at the PGM Maybank ADT Championship.
The 39-year-old Carballo, who came through Asian Tour Qualifying School in January, achieved the biggest milestone in his 16-year professional career by becoming the 2018 ADT Order of Merit Champion.
“I’m very happy because I’ve played on so many Tours around the world but this is the first time I’ve won something big like the Order of Merit title. It’s a huge achievement for me,” said Carballo, who is a former player on the PGA Tour and previously won on the Challenge Tour and the Web.com Tour.
Carballo was in the driver’s seat on the merit ranks for close to 14 consecutive weeks following his maiden ADT victory in August. Coming into the event with a US$8,290 lead, his closest rivals to the crown were Thai duo Varanyu Rattanaphiboonkij and Nitithorn Thippong, who both needed to win the season-ending event to gain the top spot.
“I’m very happy because I’ve played on so many Tours around the world but this is the first time I’ve won something big like the Order of Merit title. It’s a huge achievement for me.” – Miguel Carballo
However, Carballo safely crossed over to the weekend rounds to strip their chances of catching up, and he finally sealed the deal with a seventh-place finish to cap a stellar rookie season on the ADT with total earnings of US$43,378.
The Argentinean made his debut on the ADT at the Richard Mille Brunei Championships in March, when he decided to take the road less travelled to focus on the region’s secondary circuit because he recognized that the numerous playing opportunities would be a springboard to success for him.
“This year I have been travelling back and forth from Argentina and playing a lot more ADT events because there were so many tournaments to play on the ADT,” said Carballo, who hails from Bahia Blanca.
“Golf is not huge in Argentina. There have been so many good players back in the good old days like Ángel Cabrera and I hope to inspire more young golfers to come to Asia to compete,” added Carballo, who became the first Argentinean to lift the prestigious crown.
In what is his also first full season on the Asian Tour, Carballo has notched two top-10 finishes on the region’s premier Tour on top of his eight top-10 ADT results, and is hoping to continue his affinity with Asia after successfully keeping his full playing rights for next season.
“I decided to come down to Asia because I was not playing well in America and was looking for something different. Now that I have secured my card for 2019, I have bigger goals on the Asian Tour,” said Carballo.
Nitithorn, Varanyu, Han Lee, Janne Kaske, Mathiam Keyser and Shinichi Mizuno, who all finished inside the top-seven on the Order of Merit with Carballo, also earned playing rights on the region’s premier Tour for 2019.
The Boonchu Ruangkit Championship in January will kick start a new ADT season for 2019. Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points are offered on all ADT events with the winner earning a minimum of six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points on a sliding scale.