Kuala Lumpur, February 22, 2000: Taiwan's Yeh Wei-tze has opened up a commanding lead in the 2000 Davidoff Tour Order of Merit after two events this year, thanks largely to his memorable victory at the Benson & Hedges Malaysian Open 10 days ago.
The 27-year-old Yeh, who upstaged the stars from Europe and Asia for his maiden victory and picked up a cheque for US$133,237, followed up his win with a tied eighth finish at Sunday's Casino Filipino Open to bank another US$4,113.
After two events, Yeh has accumulated US$137,350 in prize money and holds a healthy US$75,943 lead over second-placed Des Terblanche of South Africa. Terblanche, who finished an impressive equal second at the Benson & Hedges Malaysian Open, did not compete in the Casino Filipino Open and currently stands at US$61,407.
Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng shot up to third place in the Davidoff Tour Order of Merit following his first victory in more than two years when he hit the jackpot at the Casino Filipino Open. Prayad's top prize of US$32,300 pushed up his year's winnings to US$40,838 following his tied 23rd finish in Malaysia.
Terblanche's compatriot, Nico Van Rensburg, is in fourth position with his total of US$28,912 from two tournaments while American Ted Purdy, back in Asia after losing his US PGA Tour card last season, has made an impressive return by placing fifth on the current ranking with US$28,350. Purdy finished tied second in Manila to earn US$14,886 while he was 11th at the Benson & Hedges Malaysian Open, an effort worth US$13,464.
Last season's Davidoff Tour Order of Merit winner, Kyi Hla Han of Myanmar is presently in tied 19th position in the moneylist with US$7,194 from the season-opening Benson & Hedges Malaysian Open. However, Han, the 1999 Asian PGA Players' Player of the Year, has a good chance to move up the ranking this week when he competes in his home tournament, the London Myanmar Open, starting Thursday. Yeh is taking a break this week.
Victory at the Benson & Hedges Malaysian Open opened the door for Yeh to play on the European Tour, thanks to a three-year exemption. But the baby-faced Taiwanese player said that he will concentrate on his efforts to win the Davidoff Tour Order of Merit this season, which will pave the way for him to play in several big events worldwide.
Leading positions on the Davidoff Tour Order of Merit after two events. 1. Yeh Wei-tze (Twn) US$137,350, 2. Des Terblanche (RSA) US$61,407, 3. Prayad Marksaeng (Tha) US$40,838, 4. Nico Van Rensburg (RSA) US$28,912, 5. Ted Purdy (US) US$28,350, 6. Zhang Lian-wei (PRC) US$26,812 6. Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind) US$26,812, 8. Arjun Atwal (Ind) US$19,788, 9. Tatsuhiko Ichihara (Jpn) US$18,661, 10. Mike Cunning (USA) US$14,886, 11. Thammanoon Sriroj (Tha) US$13,380, 12. Sammy Daniels (RSA) US$11,691, 13. Zaw Moe (Myn) US$11,271, 14. Gerry Norquist (US) US$10,371, 15. Jyoti Randhawa (Ind) US$8,967.