Honma Hong Kong Open

Life on the bubble a nervous time for Asian Tour regulars at HK Open

Livelihood at stake for those trying to retain their cards

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 December, 2016, 11:07am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 December, 2016, 8:13pm

There’s more than just a tournament at stake for at the UBS Hong Kong Open for a group of Asian Tour regulars. There’s a livelihood as well – at least in the short term.

As the final event on this season’s calendar, Fanling offers the last chance for them to play their way into the Asian Tour’s top 60 and thereby ensure they retain their card for 2017.

One shot, either way, and plans for an entire year – or, god forbid, more – can be thrown into disarray and it adds even more pressure across the four days.

Apparently the trick is to keep such matters as far from your mind as humanly possible.

Watch: Roundup of Day Three at the 2016 UBS Hong Kong Open

For Thailand’s Chinnarat Phadungsil it’s been a case of accentuating the positives in his life and then letting the shots fall as they may.

“All I can do is play and don’t think about my card,” said the 28-year-old. “I’ll just get out there and play. I came in thinking if I lose the card there is nothing I can do so just go out there and play the best I can.

“It’s very hard not to think about but you know I have been on the Tour for 10 years and I have a good life. I have a good coach, a good mum and a good dad, good wife, so I am happy. If I don’t make it I will just come back and try again at Q school.”

Chinnarat arrived in Hong Kong 67th on the Order of Merit list and around US$13,000 away from safety. A top-30 finish would be of considerable help – pending other performances, of course.

He enters the weekend tied for 49th and on even par, 11 off the pace set by Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello.

The 2009 Queen’s Cup in his homeland was Chinnarat’s last of five wins as a pro and he admitted a poor recent run of form boiled down to one thing.

“My confidence,” he said. “I’ve been determined but my confidence levels have just not been good enough.”

Fellow Thai Jazz Janewattananond was sitting 70th coming in, and likewise scraped into the weekend just above the cut line. The 20-year-old had three mid-round bogeys to make things harder than they perhaps should have been – but was quick to shrug the day off.

“It was a very tiring day,” he said. “I made a lot of saves and didn’t think about making the top 60 too much today. Probably the last two days I will think about it more. But at even par it’s like starting a new tournament.”