The Asian Tour’s scorecard for its just-concluded 2011 season makes impressive reading with Filipino history-maker Juvic Pagunsan topping the charts.
The region’s elite circuit hailed Pagunsan as its new Order of Merit champion where he became the first man from the Philippines in Asian Tour history to be crowned the region’s number one.
A total of 24 tournaments were sanctioned by the Asian Tour this year with a cumulative prize fund of 50 million U.S. dollars which was an all-time high.
This was due largely to a schedule which included four new events, the Indonesian Masters, Panasonic Open India, CJ Invitational hosted by KJ Choi and the season-ending Thailand Golf Championship.
Two other tournaments, the ICTSI Philippine Open and Macao Open presented by Cityneon, also made welcome returns onto the schedule as well.
Through a widespread playing opportunities that stretched from the Far East in Japan all the way to Switzerland, Pagunsan stole the show, thanks largely to a November to remember.
Entering the month, the sweet-swinging 33-year-old Filipino languished in 64th spot on the Merit list but rose to prominence with a second place finish at the 6-million-dollar Barclays Singapore Open, losing in a play-off which came with a whopping 666,660-dollar check.
Three other top-10s in Taipei, Hong Kong and Singapore saw him end his magical season with earnings of 788,298 dollars.
“Without the Asian Tour, there will be no Juvic Pagunsan,” said the Filipino.
“I’m feeling very happy to be the first Filipino to win this prestigious award. I cannot believe that I can win the Order of Merit award.”
Asia’s elite circuit also heralded five first-time winners in Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, Anirban Lahiri and Himmat Rai of India, Joonas Granberg of Finland and American Berry Henson.
Granberg and Henson were amongst the Qualifying School graduates who enjoyed successful rookie seasons, along with 2011 Rookie of the Year Tjaart Van Der Walt of South Africa.