Taipei, Taiwan: This week’s Yeangder Tournament Players Championship (TPC) will offer potential Olympic contenders their final chance to seal a passage to Rio de Janeiro.
As the last Olympic qualifier on the Asian Tour, the US$500,000 event presents players such as Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang, Singapore’s Mardan Mamat and Bangladeshi Siddikur Rahman their final opportunity to be part of the August showpiece in Brazil.
All three players need a good showing at the Linkou International Golf and Country Club to boost their world ranking and move inside the top-60 on the Olympic rankings before the qualifying window closes on July 11.
Only the top 60 players are guaranteed spots at the Olympics where golf will be making its return after a 112-year absence.
Siddikur currently sits in 55th place while Lin is the first alternate on the Olympic qualification list. Mardan, who fell out of the Olympic frame last month, is anxious for a powerful performance to propel him back into the top-60 and confirm his ticket to Rio.
Thanks to his second place finish in Mauritius, Siddikur moved back into the Olympic frame and is hopeful of overcoming a nagging back injury as he prepares for Taipei.
“I thanked God that I could finish second (in Mauritius). I jumped up the Order of Merit and I also got back into the Olympic qualifying frame.
“My game is feeling much better. I’m practicing a lot. I struggled a bit a few years back but now I’m enjoying my golf. I’m not 100% with my back problem but I’m comfortable that I can enjoy the golf again,” said Siddikur, a two-time Asian Tour winner.
Meanwhile, Lin will bank on the familiarity of playing on home soil as he searches for his seventh win on the Asian Tour.
“I always feel comfortable playing at home, especially with the familiar surroundings. I’ve never won the Yeangder TPC before but I hope that will change.
“It’s also an honour to represent your country in the Olympics and I hope I can make it to Brazil,” said Lin.
Like Lin, Mardan also wants to carry his country’s medal hopes at the Olympics.
The Singaporean veteran will, however, have to improve on his form in 2016, during which his only top-10 finish came in Perth.
“I did not play in Koh Samui last week because of flu but I’ve recovered and I’m feeling better now. I’ve not played up to expectations but I believe that will change when I step up to the tee at the Yeangder TPC.
“I’m not out of the equation for the Olympics. I can only concentrate on my own game and do my best,” said the 48-year-old.
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