Kuala Lumpur, August 11: Danny Chia of Malaysia will bid to win the PGM Northport Glenmarie Championship for a record third time when the Asian Development Tour (ADT) event starts on Wednesday.
The 42-year-old, who missed only one cut in 13 appearances this year, is excited at the prospect of rewriting history on the ADT but a minor neck injury might put a dent in his title aspirations at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.
Chia was worried that it was a relapse from an injury he suffered two years ago, but his concerns were dismissed by his doctor, who gave him the green light to contend at the RM200,000 (approximately US$55,400) ADT event.
“I’m not expecting much because I pulled my neck muscle. It got really stiff and got me worried because it was near the operated area. Since yesterday my neck has loosened up a bit so that’s a very big relief,” said Chia.
“This week I won’t be at 100% but I’ve been playing like this for about a year and it has worked out for me,” he added.
The Malaysian will challenge for the title against reigning ADT Order of Merit champion Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand, American Casey O’Toole, Australian Jake Stirling and Sean Riordan of New Zealand, who are currently placed second, fourth and sixth on the ADT Order of Merit.
Nicholas Fung of Malaysia, who won the event in 2012 and finished top-five in the last two editions, will lead the home charge alongside Arie Irawan, ranked third on the ADT merit list, and the in-form Ben Leong.
Chia is enjoying a rich vein of form this year which he credits to a strong support team. “It is a combination of a lot of stuff. I have a good coach, physiotherapist and chiropractor who has helped me get back into shape.
“Things changed a lot since my injury. Before my injury, I will work out at the range. Now I want to get myself fit enough to play in competitions. I don’t think too much about my swing mechanics anymore and that seems to help my game,” said Chia.
The winner of the PGM Northport Glenmarie Championship will take home a prize purse of US$9,615 and receive six Official World Golf Ranking points. The top six players and ties will also earn points based on a sliding scale.
Since it was inaugurated in 2010, the ADT has grown from five events in the first year to 21 tournaments in 2014. A record 24 tournaments have been confirmed for the 2015 season.
The ADT will continue to reward the top-five finishers on the final Order of Merit with Asian Tour cards for 2016.
With the Olympic Games looming in 2016 where golf will be reintroduced as a medal sport, players in the region could earn their spots in Rio de Janeiro by earning Official World Golf Ranking points through the Asian Tour and ADT.