2-time runner-up Oh aims to win


TAIPEI, Taiwan — In-form Korean Ted Oh will be gunning for a maiden Asian Tour victory at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters which tees off on Thursday. The United States-based Oh has finished runner-up twice in the US$500,000 event but will be looking to improve at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club’s Tamsui course. He will face a strong challenge from defending champion and local hope Lu Wen-teh, Thai star Thaworn Wiratchant, big-hitting Australian Scott Hend and American Anthony Kang. The 32-year-old Oh is eager to finally enter the winner’s circle and has come close over the last few weeks on the Asian Tour, finishing in the top-10 at the Brunei Open and Pertamina Indonesia President Invitational.

“I’ve been working with a new physical trainer (Chang Lee) and I have finally tweaked my swing with my coach Dan Brown,” he said.

“When I head out on the golf course, I do not have to worry about my driving and fitness anymore, it’s a great feeling. “I’m comfortable on this course because it is very similar to my home course back in California which has narrow fairways and the length is almost the same too,” added the Korean, who came second in 2004 and last year. Hend, who claimed his first win in Asia in Indonesia two weeks ago, is hoping to land another victory but will have to play without his favourite driver after breaking the clubface during practice last week.

“I played in a practice round in Bangkok last week and I cracked the face. I’ve tried 25 different drivers but I can’t find the one which behaves the same way,” said the former U.S. PGA Tour player. Defending champion Lu spearheads the local charge again. “I always feel confident when I compete on my home course,” said Lu, who lifted the title in 1994 and 1996 before his triumph last year. “If I am able to read the wind and with a bit of luck, I will be in a good position for a second successive win this week.”

Thailand’s Thaworn, who won a record 10th Asian Tour title at the Bangkok Airways Open in June, is relishing his chances of a repeat success at the Tamsui course. “I am feeling good about my game. But the course is playing slightly longer and the greens are quite hard to read,” he said.

“I’ve won this event before in 2004 and I will enter this week hoping for a similar result.”