September 3, Chonburi, Thailand: Wisut Artjanawat will be gunning for his second Mercedes-Benz Tour victory this week as he tries to close the gap on Order of Merit leader Angelo Que of the Philippines.
The talented Thai, who won the Mercedes-Benz Masters Philippines in May, lies fourth in the rankings behind Que, Mars Pucay of the Philippines and Danny Chia of Malaysia.
A victory in the US$50,000 B-ing Championship at Pattana Golf and Sports Resort, Chonburi from tomorrow until Sunday (September 4-7) will help Wisut reduce Que’s lead in the race for the first Mercedes-Benz Tour rankings crown.
The B-ing Championship is the fifth leg of the fledgling Tour this season and the first stop in Thailand.
Thai players dominated the last event to be held in the country, the Singha E-San Open with current world number 71 Prayad Marksaeng beating veteran Boonchu Ruangkit in a play-off after a ding-dong battle last December.
Wisut has good recent memories of Pattana Golf and Sports Resort having finished joint eighth there in the US$300,000 Asian Tour International in March with a 15-under-par total of 273.
The 26-year-old Thai, a former leading amateur who was part of the national team that dominated the Putra Cup in the early 2000s, was gaining a bit of an unwanted reputation as a ‘nearly man’ in the pro ranks before capturing the Mercedes-Benz Masters Philippines.
He fired an impressive final round six-under-par 66 to finish two strokes ahead of Filipinos Que and Pucay.
The Mercedes-Benz Tour was launched to provide regular competitive golf for promising young Asean players with nine events scheduled for this year.
Malaysia’s Ben Leong, one of the most exciting prospects in the region, stamped his mark on the Tour with a debut victory in the Mercedes-Benz Masters Malaysia in July.
He underlined his potential with a breakthrough triumph on the Asian Tour a few weeks later, holding off the vastly experienced Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand to win the Worldwide Selangor Masters by a stroke.