Thailand's Thaworn Wiratchant will be defending two things today when he tees off at the Taiwan Masters: the title he won last year and his No. 1 spot on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
Thaworn regained his merit lead last weekend, coming back from three strokes behind to win the Taiwan Open -- his second Asian Tour title of the season. The victory boosted his total winnings this season to US$391,563 -- an Asian Tour record for earnings in a single season.
The Taiwan Masters will be his fifth straight tournament appearance, but the 38-year-old Thai said he wasn't tired.
"As the defending champion, it's important for me to play," said Thaworn, who won the Indonesia Open in March. "I'm feeling OK and with good rest and good food, I'll be up for the challenge here this week."
Thaworn's main opponents in the US$400,000 tournamentwill be four top-10 players in the Asian Tour Order of Merit: Thailand's Prom Meesawat and the Australian trio of Andrew Buckle, Scott Barr and Marcus Both.