Taiwan Open, one of Asia's longest-running Championships, will carry
a total prize fund of US$300,000 when its 42nd edition makes a return
to Sunrise Golf and Country Club from October 5 to 8, 2006.
Thai star Thaworn Wiratchant, last season's Asian Tour number one,
will defend his title and face a top-class international field as
well as the best players from Chinese Taipei.
The Taiwan Open has long been regarded as one of the premier events
in the region and its list of champions includes the Who's Who of
Great names such as Hsieh Min-nan, Lu Liang-huan and Chen Tze-ming,
three of the finest golfers to emerge from Chinese Taipei, adorn
the trophy while international stars including Vijay Singh of Fiji,
American John Jacobs, Filipino Frankie Minoza and US PGA Tour regular
Daniel Chopra of Sweden have also won the Taiwan Open previously.
The ROC Golf Association (GAROC) President Fun-Ming Lo said: "We
are pleased to announce the staging of this year's Taiwan Open at
Sunrise Golf and Country Club, which is a wonderful setting for
such an important Championship. This event is steep in history and
we hope to crown a worthy champion once again."
Asian Tour Chairman Kyi Hla Han believes the Taiwan Open will continue
to be the platform for Asian and Chinese Taipei players to emerge
onto the scene. "The Chinese Taipei players form one of the
largest memberships on the Asian Tour and over the years, we have
seen several young players making their presence felt such as Lu
Wei-chih and Lin Wen-ko.
"We firmly believe the Taiwan Open will continue to play a
big role in helping us to develop professional golf in Asia."
Last year, the talented Thaworn stormed from three shots back in
the final round to sweep to victory at Chang Gung Golf Club and
he will be looking to retain his trophy at Sunrise, which has hosted
the Open seven times in the past, from 1997 to 2003.
Since its inaugural staging in 1965, only four players, Hsieh Yung-yo
(1967-68), Chang Chung-fa (1970-71), Kuo Chi-hsiung (1974-75) and
Lin Chie-hsiang (1992-93), all from Chinese Taipei, have successfully
defended their titles.
The 38-year-old Thaworn equalled the course record with a stunning
eight-under-par 64 in the final round last year and won by one stroke
from compatriot Chapchai Nirat.
Chinese Taipei's Lu Wei-lan shared third place to emerge as the
best local finisher and the 31-year-old will be determined to improve
on his performance in October in search of a first Taiwan Open and
Asian Tour title.
Apart from Wei-lan, local hopes will also rest squarely on the shoulders
of evergreen veterans Wang Ter-chang and Lu Wen-teh, who are once
again enjoying impressive seasons on the Asian Tour.
The 44-year-old Wang, a four-time winner in the region, is currently
12th on the Asian Tour's UBS Order of Merit, thanks largely to his
victory at the Brunei Open, two top-10 finishes and four other top-20s
Wen-teh, 43, is ranked 31st and came close to retaining his Bangkok
Airways Open title in June before finishing fourth. He held a one-stroke
lead with two holes remaining but was disappointed to triple bogey
his 17th hole on the last day. With four Asian Tour titles between
them, Wang and Lu will also be fired up in their bid to win a first
Taiwan Open title in October.
September 22, 2006