Rising star Shubhankar Sharma of India will resume his chase for the coveted Asian Tour Order of Merit crown when he tees off for the US$850,000 Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Thursday.
Sharma, who received the prestigious Arjuna Award from the President of India in Delhi yesterday, is determined to put up a fine performance this week to extend his lead on the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings.
“The chase for the Asian Tour Order of Merit crown has been on my mind since the start of the season,” Sharma said.
“I will try my best to play well these two weeks and hopefully extend my lead at the top of the money list. It’s not going to be easy but I’m in the best position that anyone can be in.”
The 22-year-old Sharma will spearhead the elite 123-man field from 23 countries at the fabled Taiwan Golf and Country Club – the traditional home of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters, which is celebrating its centennial year in 2018 as the oldest club in the country.
RIGHT: Sharma says he has been thinking about the Asian Tour Order of Merit Crown since the beginning on the season. PHOTO: Warren Little/Getty Images.
South African Justin Harding – highest-ranked player in 97th place on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) – will also feature in the storied event alongside Korea’s Sanghyun Park and Scott Vincent of Zimbabwe, all placed inside the top-10 on the Habitat for Humanity Standings.
The Mercuries Taiwan Masters, which is celebrating its 32nd edition this week, is the longest-running full-field event on the Asian Tour. Inaugurated in 1987, the event has been held annually on the region’s premier Tour since 2004.
Players will be vying to boost their Merit rankings as the top-10 and top-four players (not otherwise exempt) on the Habitat for Humanity standings will qualify for the US$7 million CIMB Classic and US$10 million WGC-HSBC Champions staged in Malaysia and China respectively.
“The chase for the Asian Tour Order of Merit crown has been on my mind since the start of the season.” – Shubhankar Sharma
The Mercuries Taiwan Masters will be the penultimate event for players to try and boost their rankings on the Habitat for Humanity Standings before the cut-off date on October 7.
Maverick Antcliff, Adam Blyth, Jarryd Felton, Jake Higginbottom, Steven Jeffress, James Marchesani, Andrew Martin, Terry Pilkadaris, Travis Smyth and Josh Younger make up the Australian contingent in Taiwan this week.