KUALA LUMPUR: Gavin Green became the first-ever Malaysian to win the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit on Monday.
The Taiwan Masters champion is now the second youngest golfer to win the accolade after South Korea’s Noh Seungyul, who was 19 when he won it in 2010.
Big-hitting Green, who turns 24 on Dec 28, sealed his win after finishing tied 18th at the Joburg Open in South Africa, firing rounds of 70-67-70-70, playing to a four-day total of 10-under-par 277.
The Joburg Open saw India’s Shubhankar Sharma become the tournament’s first-ever Asian winner at just 21 years of age and in his debut in South Africa, which sees him automatically qualifying for The Open in Carnoustie from July 19-22, 2018.
Shubhankar fired to a three-shot win (23-under-par 264) over hosts Erik Van Rooyen and Shaun Norris in second and third respectively, with scores of 20-under-par 267 and 17-under-par 270, respectively.
Meanwhile, Green, a three-time winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), clinched the title with a total collection of US$585,813 (RM2.39 million) after playing in 17 tournaments all season, leaving America’s David Lipsky in second with a gap of US$124,634 (RM507,666).
“After 12 months, here we are, on top! It is an amazing feeling. There were so many good guys who had a chance to win it. Thankfully, this week came around well. I’m going to enjoy most of it,” said Green.
By finishing on top of the Order of Merit, Gavin has earned a five-year exemption on the Asian Tour and spots at next year’s The Open as well as the World Golf Championships (WGC)-Mexico Championship.
He will also get to represent Team Asia at the upcoming EurAsia Cup at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in January 2018.
Green will have the opportunity to finish the year on an even higher note as he will be competing at the Asian Tour season-ending US$750,000 (RM3.05million) Indonesian Masters this week.
The winner of the Indonesian Masters will receive a prize purse of US$135,000 (RM549,825) as well as a minimum of 20 Official Golf World Ranking points and an invitation to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 2018.
Asian Tour Order of Merit – Top-20 Pos Player Order of Merit (US$)
1. Gavin GREEN (MAS) $585,813.46
2. David LIPSKY (USA) $461,179.11
3. S.S.P. CHAWRASIA (IND) $440,747.64
4. Scott HEND (AUS) $439,229.60
5. Wade ORMSBY (AUS) $423,896.00
6. Shubhankar SHARMA (IND) $379,535.81
7. Phachara KHONGWATMAI (THA) $364,799.42
8. Poom SAKSANSIN (THA) $326,678.51
9. Jazz JANEWATTANANOND (THA) $305,925.43
10. Daisuke KATAOKA (JPN) $284,489.61
11. Shiv KAPUR (IND) $280,930.50
12. Paul PETERSON (USA) $272,888.99
13. Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) $272,308.02
14. Micah Lauren SHIN (USA) $269,838.67
15. Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND) $243,171.88
16. Richard T. LEE (CAN) $243,059.08
17. Juvic PAGUNSAN (PHI) $232,971.27
18. Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA) $215,403.82
19. Carlos PIGEM (ESP) $208,386.35
20. Younghan SONG (KOR) $208,231.59