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Yates set to challenge for Asian Tour Merit Title

Thai-based Scotman Simon Yates has emerged as a major threat to Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand in the race for the Asian Tour Order of Merit crown.

Yates leapfrogged to second place on the money ranking following his runner-up finish in the Kolon Korean Open on Sunday. He picked up a cheque of US$42,771 and raised his season's haul to US$260,159.

With eight events remaining including this week's Mercuries Masters in Taipei , Yates is only US$72,216 behind the Thai star, who has spent most of his time playing on the European Tour following his success in the co-sanctioned Carlsberg Malaysian Open in February. Thongchai has won US$332,375.

Yates has been impressive this season, winning the SK Telecom Open in Korea in May and posting four other top-10s. His runner-up finish was also his 10th of his career. In fact his strong showing has made him decide to try his luck on the US PGA Tour Qualifying School as he has been exempted into Stage Two in November.

India's Jyoti Randhawa slipped to third place on the money ranking with US$248,309 while last week's winner Edward Loar of the United States was the biggest mover on the list as he shot up to 11th place with US$112,409.

At the opposite end of the money ranking, Australian Pat Giles moved to 60th place after finishing tied 13th in Korea . The top-60 players will keep their full playing rights for the 2005 season and also qualify for the season-ending Volvo Masters of Asia in Kuala Lumpur in December.

The Asian Tour moves to Taipei this week for the US$390,000 Mercuries Masters at Taiwan Golf and Country Club's Tamsui course. The event is the 15th leg of the season.

Remaining Events on Asian Tour 2004 Schedule

Sept 16-19: Mercuries Masters , Taiwan GCC, Chinese Taipei , US$390,000

Sept 23-26: Taiwan Open, North Bay GCC, Chinese Taipei , US$300,000

Oct 21-24: Crowne Plaza Open, Shanghai , Tomson Golf Club , China , US$200,000

Oct 28-31: Sanya Open, Yalong Bay GC, China , US$200,000

Nov 4-7: Carlsberg Masters in Vietnam , Chi Linh Star GCC, Hanoi , US$200,000

Nov 18-21: Hero Honda Masters, Course TBA, New Delhi , US$300,000

Nov 25-28: Volvo China Open*, Shanghai Silport GC, US$1,000,000

Dec 9-12: Volvo Masters of Asia , Kota Permai GCC, Malaysia , US$550,000

* joint sanctioned with European Tour

Asian Tour Order of Merit - Top 20

Pos. Player, US$

1. Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 332,375

2. Simon YATES (SCO) 260,159

3. Jyoti RANDHAWA ( IND ) 248,309

4. Hideto TANIHARA (JPN) 194,197

5. Prayad MARKSAENG (THA) 188,801

6. Simon DYSON (ENG) 170,118

7. Brad KENNEDY (AUS) 162,297

8. Greg HANRAHAN ( USA ) 159,423

9. Boonchu RUANGKIT (THA) 154,333

10. Mardan MAMAT (SIN) 128,643

11. Edward LOAR ( USA ) 112,409

12. Charlie WI (KOR) 110,608

13. Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA) 103,566

14. Adam GROOM (AUS) 99,243

15. MO Joong-kyung (KOR) 98,692

16. Jason KNUTZON ( USA ) 86,077

17. ZHANG Lian-wei (CHN) 84,437

18. Unho PARK (AUS) 82,216

19. Chawalit PLAPHOL (THA) 76,501

20. CHUNG Joon (KOR) 76,370

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