Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung is hoping to taste success again when he embarks on his title defence at the US$300,000 Queen’s Cup presented by Bangchak, which will be celebrating its 10th straight edition on the Asian Tour next week.
The bespectacled Fung, 2013 Asian Development Tour Order of Merit champion, endured several near-misses before finally breaking through with a one-shot victory at the event 12 months ago. The 28-year-old Sabahan is determined to add another victory to his resume at the storied event, which will be played for the first time at the highly-rated Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club in Pattaya from June 28 to July 1.
A total of 150 players from 25 different countries, featuring over 40 Asian Tour winners, will be vying for top honours and chasing the winner’s prize purse of US$54,000 when the tournament gets underway next week.
“I love playing in Thailand. It’s pretty similar to Malaysia, be it the weather or the people. I have been playing well. I did some work with my coach and I’m gaining more distance than before. I am not a long hitter so I have to work on my distance if I want to better my game.
“I waited very long for that first win. I came close so many times and I finally got the job done at the Queen’s Cup last year. That victory has given me a lot of confidence. I am looking forward to defending my title next week,” said Fung.
After missing four cuts in 10 starts on the Asian Tour this season, Fung sits in a current 41st place on the Habitat for Humanity Standings, with his best result being a tied-14th place finish at the Panasonic Open Golf Championship in Japan two months ago.
A year after his breakthrough feat, Fung remains confident of putting up another title run albeit on a different course. He believes a hot putter will fuel his charge for a successful title defence when he steps up to the tee next week.
“I have played at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club a couple of times. The course doesn’t seem long for me so putting will be the key to score. This is my first time defending a title on the Asian Tour.
“I have done it on the local Tour and on the ADT before. It’s going to feel different because the field is stronger and there are a lot of young players out there looking for their first win as well. I am, however, more than happy to take up the challenge,” Fung noted.
Other notable players in the field include Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang and Shiv Kapur of India, who have triumphed on the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
The Queen’s Cup, held in honour of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, will mark the Asian Tour’s third stop in Thailand this year, following the Qualifying School in January and the recently-concluded Thailand Open where local rising star Panuphol Pittayarat claimed his second Asian Tour victory.
Since its inception in 2009, the Queen’s Cup has welcomed many worthy champions such as 2016 Order of Merit champion Scott Hend of Australia and Thai veterans Prayad Marksaeng and Thaworn Wiratchant, who have each won the title twice from 2012 to 2015.