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Thaworn Wirachant gains four Asian Tour awards

Thailand 's Thaworn Wiratchant grabbed four main awards at the Asian Tour's Awards Night 2005 on Sunday, including the prestigious Players' Player of the Year and Order of Merit titles.

On a day he claimed the mantle as Asia 's top player for the first time in his career, Thaworn, who turns 39 later this month, was feted by his peers at Conrad Hotel here following a record-breaking season where he won four titles and broke the season-earnings record with a cool US$510,122.

Thaworn created plenty of thrills all year, knocking in a total of 395 birdies to win the Birdie Leader award and proved he was the master of the short game by winning the Lowest Putting Average award with 1.71 putts per round.

India 's Shiv Kapur, who lifted the season-ending Volvo Masters of Asia title with a tournament record of 20-under-par 268, claimed the Rookie of the Year honours after a tremendous year which included five other top-10s which pushed him to fourth place on the Order of Merit with US$242,101.

"It is an honour to win the Players' Player of the Year Award as it is a title which is voted by the players," said a jubilant Thaworn. "To earn the admiration of my fellow competitors is a nice feeling and the award is very different from winning my first Order of Merit title."

Thaworn won the co-sanctioned Standard Chartered Indonesia Open, Taiwan Open, Hero Honda Indian Open and Carlsberg Masters Vietnam to become the first player to triumph four times in a season. He also became the player with the most number of wins - eight - in Asia .

His terrific performances earned him invites into several lucrative events next season, including a maiden Major appearance at the British Open in July, the WGC-American Express Championship and the US PGA Tour's Sony Open in Hawaii next month.

"I'll be looking forward to the British Open. I've never tried to qualify for the Open in the past because I do not like the wind and cold but I will definitely be there. It is like a dream to have a chance to play in the British Open," said Thaworn.

Two-time Asian Tour number one Thongchai Jaidee, who finished second behind Thaworn in the Order of Merit with US$454,335, took the Lowest Stroke Average award with 70.02 while Australian David Bransdon won the Greens in Regulation title with 73 per cent greens hit per round.

The magnificent Empire Hotel and Country Club, a Jack Nicklaus design, was voted Host Venue of the Year by the players after it staged the inaugural Brunei Open in June.

ASIAN TOUR 2005 ROLL OF HONOUR

Order of Merit winner: Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha)

Players' Player of the Year: Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha)

Rookie of the Year: Shiv Kapur ( Ind )

Host Venue of the Year: Empire Hotel & Country Club ( Brunei Open)

Greens in Regulation: David Bransdon (Aus) - 73%

Lowest Stroke Average: Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) - 70.02

Birdie Leader: Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha) - 395 birdies

Lowest Putting Average: Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha) - 1.71

December 12, 2005

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