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Five Indian golfers in Asian top 50

November 28, 2005 16:22 IST

Ace golfer Jyoti Randhawa was perched at an impressive third place as five Indians figure in the top-50 of the Asian Order of Merit.

The top 60, after the Hong Kong Open, the penultimate event of the season, are eligible to play in the season-ending US $600,000 Volvo Masters of Asia in Thailand.

Randhawa, who showed a welcome return to form with a tied seventh place finish at the Volvo China Open, despite a poor back nine on final day, is lying third with US $255,315, while Shiv Kapur (17th) and Jeev Milkha Singh (21st), Gaurav Ghei (31st) and Harmeet Kahlon (47th) are the others in top-50.

Other Indians with a chance of making the top 60 with good finishes in Hong Kong are Amandeep Johl (64th) and Rahil Gangjee (69th).

A top-10 placing in Hong Kong could do the trick for them.

Meanwhile, it will be down to the wire for Thailand's golf idols Thaworn Wiratchant and Thongchai Jaidee in the fight for the prestigious Asian Tour Order of Merit title.

Thongchai reduced Thaworn's lead at the top of the money ranking with a tied seventh finish at the Volvo China Open n Sunday, with current leader Thaworn settling for equal 24th place in Shenzhen.

Thaworn, who has won a record four times this year, has accumulated a record haul of US $496,745, and seen his lead trimmed to US $78,970.

Thongchai, last year's number one, is determined to take the Order of Merit battle to the finish fine and is targeting another strong outing at the Hong Kong Golf Club, starting on Thursday.

He is not ready to surrender his merit title without a fight and gave himself a lifeline with a strong final round 67 in China that earned him US $31,655.

"I struggled with my putts in the first three rounds but it finally came together in the last round," said Thongchai.

"The Hong Kong Golf Club is a tight course and if you miss the fairway it will kill you while the greens there are always challenging as well. It is a good thing that I've been driving the ball really well and I hope to take the Order of Merit fight right to the final event," said Thongchai.

Thaworn earned US $13,325 at the weekend as he took a small step closer towards becoming the first player in Asian Tour history to surpass the US $500,000 mark in earnings in a single season. But the merit title is still his main goal.

"It was not a good finish for me in China. It was frustrating as I couldn't make anything on the course," said Thaworn.

"I just failed to get the pace of the greens and I didn't play well. I knew it was going to be hard as the course is too long for me."

Randhawa, showing a welcome return to form after a season plagued with injury, is a massive US $241,430 behind Thaworn but still has a mathematical chance of winning a second Order

of Merit title if he can pull off two victories in the coming weeks and for Thaworn and Thongchai to not play well.

At the opposite end of the merit list, the battle is also intense as players fight to finish inside the top-60, which will see them qualifying for the Volvo Masters of Asia at Thai Country Club and also retain their full playing privileges for the 2006 season.

Eiji Mizoguchi of Japan sits on the bubble after missing the cut last week and amongst the players who are outside the top-60 include Chinese Taipei's Lin Keng-chi, ranked 62nd, and

Amandeep Johl ranked 64th.

Asian Tour Order of Merit -- Top-20 (prize money in US dollars)

1. Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 496,745

2. Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 417,775

3. Jyoti Randhawa (IND) 255,315

4. Terry Pilkadaris (AUS) 222,369

5. Andrew Buckle (AUS) 202,163

6. Chawalit Plaphol (THA) 165,808

7. LU Wen-teh (TPE) 156,115

8. Scott Barr (AUS) 155,088

9. Marcus Both (AUS) 147,097

10. Ted Oh (KOR) 146,678

11. Prom Meesawat (THA) 146,149

12. Scott Strange (AUS) 139,978

13. LIN Wen-tang (TPE) 135,348

14. James Kingston (RSA) 130,546

15. ZHANG Lian-wei (CHN) 128,972

16. Anthony Kang (USA) 125,467

17. Shiv Kapur (IND) 124,591

18. Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 123,990

19. Simon Yates (SCO) 120,110

20. WANG Ter-chang (TPE) 116,591.

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