Wirachant leads Asian OOM - Fraser 2nd

Kuala Lumpur, November 12: Thai star Thaworn Wiratchant is firmly in the driver's seat as he extended his lead on the Asian Tour's Order of Merit with a solid showing at the US$6 million Barclays Singapore Open on Sunday.

The veteran produced another consistent performance, finishing tied 24th to win US$60,600 and swell his season earnings to U$607,631, thanks largely to three Asian Tour victories this year.

Having won the Order of Merit in 2005, Thaworn hopes to reclaim the crown and become the oldest Asian Tour number one as he continues a busy stretch of events with the UBS Hong Kong Open which starts on Thursday.

"It is nice to lead the Order of Merit and there are many big tournaments coming up. I want to win it (Order of Merit) but it will depend on how I play in the next few events. I have a good chance of winning but I'll need to continue my form. I'm looking forward to the end of the season," said Thaworn, who holds the record of 15 career titles on the Asian Tour.

His closest competitor, Marcus Fraser kept up his chase as he posted a tied 33rd result in Singapore and currently trails Thaworn by slightly over US$80,000. The Australian said he was happy to play catch-up as he aims to go one rank higher than his runner-up finish on the 2010 Order of Merit.

"I'm happy that things are moving in the right direction for me. I'm pretty comfortable and hopefully it continues. I've got a pretty busy few weeks coming up. Hopefully things keep improving," said Fraser.

On the flipside of the coin, Danny Chia broke into the top-60 of the Order of Merit to give himself a fighting chance of saving his Asian Tour card for 2013. The Malaysian made the halfway cut at the Barclays Singapore Open, sinking an ace on the second day to make the weekend rounds.

He eventually finished tied 67th and will need to stay in the top-60 at the end of the season to earn full playing rights on the Asian Tour next year.

Among the players, who are on the bubble and are fighting to save their cards include Peter Karmis (60th) of South Africa, winner of the 2010 ISPS Handa Singapore Classic, Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng (61st), a six-time Asian Tour winner, Adam Groom (63rd) of Australia and Chiragh Kumar (68th) of India.

Elmer Salvador of the Philippines and Pariya Junhasavasdikul of Thailand, who won the Mercuries Taiwan Masters in 2010, are also in a precarious position as they lie in 54th and 55th places respectively.

The Asian Tour will travel to the Hong Kong Golf Club for the US$2 million UBS Hong Kong Open. The event, sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour, starts on Thursday.

ASIAN TOUR ORDER OF MERIT "“ TOP-20
POS PLAYER EARNINGS (US$)

1. Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) $607,631
2. Marcus FRASER (AUS) $527,144
3. Jbe KRUGER (RSA) $453,588
4. Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) $422,925
5. Masanori KOBAYASHI (JPN) $400,289
6. Prom MEESAWAT (THA) $318,484
7. Shiv KAPUR (IND) $309,575
8. David LIPSKY (USA) $278,097
9. Chapchai NIRAT (THA) $256,412
10. Anirban LAHIRI (IND) $255,231
11. Felipe AGUILAR (CHI) $249,791
12. Scott HEND (AUS) $224,765

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