Yeh keeps sights trained on No. 1 spot in money race


SINGAPORE, AFP

Taiwan’s Yeh Wei-tze goes into this weekend’s Singapore Open knowing victory will guarantee he finishes the year at the top of the Asian money list. But the 27 year-old, who has led the money race all year bar one week, admits he does not feel at home at the Singapore Island Country Club’s Island Course due to the undulating and tight tree-lined fairways desiged by five-times British Open winner Peter Thompson. “I don’t like undulating courses and the fairways are also very narrow,” he said. “Maybe, I’ll keep my driver in the bag on some of the holes as accuracy is at a premium. With just this tournament and next week’s Hong Kong Open left to play this year, Yeh knows he is in with a great shout of finishing year as Asia’s top dog and clinching automatic qualification for the British Open and the Word Golf Championship. “Right now, I’m not thinking about ending the year as the number one player because it adds to the pressure and may affect my game,” he admitted. “I’ll try to stick to my normal game plan and see where it takes me.

“There are so many players who can do well here and in Hong Kong next week to catch me in the money race. However, I’m swinging the club well, so I’m confident.” Yeh has accumulated US$216,436 this season and leads England’s Simon Dyson, winner of the Macau and Volvo China Opens in May, by approximately US$33,000. But with a US$400,000 prize pot to shoot for this week and another US$500,000 at stake next week, the top 16 players on the order of merit have a mathematical chance of overhauling Yeh. The 40th Singapore Open champion will bank US$64,600 while the winner of the Omega Hong Kong Open will pocket US$80,750. South Africa’s Craig Kamps, currently third on the money list with 157,404 dollars is refreshed and recharged after skipping last week’s Thailand Open. “The course here is in good condition and scoring will be low. You can drive three par fours here and the par fives are reachable in two, but the key would be to put the ball below the pins as there are some severe slopes on the greens. “It’s a big two weeks and a couple of good finishes might just see any of us moving up to the top of the order of merit. After taking last week off, I’m confident I can do something,” said Kamps, winner of the Lexus International in October.

India’s Jyoti Randhawa, who is fourth in the rankings, also believes he has a hance of securing the top spot. “If I can win one title and get another top-10, then, I’ll be the number one. That’s what I’m aiming for. There is a lot of pressure out there because the race is so tight but it makes you want to focus a bit harder. I didn’t play well in the European Tour qualifying school last month as my mind was on my wedding and I had a stiff back. But I’m well and ready this week. My wife Tina is here too and that’s good because I can go out and play hard and come back to the hotel and feel right at home.” The pressure is not only in the race for the number one crown. As only the top-60 players on the tour retain their cards, there is also plenty at stake at the opposite end of the rankings.