Melbourne pro Marcus Fraser has jumped into the top spot on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.
Fraser’s recent tie for second in the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland earned him $US174,354 which swelled his season’s total prizemoney to $US448,710 – $US8,500 ahead of previous leader Jbe Kruger of South Africa who missed the tournament’s cut.
Kruger’s rare slip – it is the first time he has slipped out of the No.1 one slot after winning the Avantha Masters in India earlier in the season – allowed Fraser to leap-frog him for top place.
Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant is third $US215,113 despite missing the weekend rounds in Switzerland.
Fraser is now aiming to become the first Australian to win the prestigious Order of Merit crown. Two years ago, he also challenged for top honours before settling for second place behind Korea’s Noh Seung-yul.
“This event (Omega European Masters), being a co-sanctioned event with the Asian Tour means a lot,” said Fraser, who signed off the week with a 66 to finish four shots behind winner Richie Ramsay of Scotland.
“I look forward to the next few weeks playing in Japan and the big events in Asia. I want to play my minimum in Asia this year like what I’ve done the last couple of years.
"I love playing in Asia as well and the reason why this event is so nice to me is because it counts on both money list and so it’s a pretty cool week,” he said.
Fraser credited a hot putter for his good run in Switzerland.
“It was great," he said. "I played really poorly the first couple of days and putted great. Then as the week went on, I got better and better and I couldn’t be happier. I finally found some form and it has been good.
“It was nice to gradually gain some momentum through the week and find some form as the week went on. It could have been better for sure.
"The third round was a bit disappointing. I finished pretty poorly as I think I was three-over the last seven holes. That probably cost me the chance of winning the tournament.”
Fraser will now tee off in this week’s Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open in Japan and hopes to reinforce his position at the summit of the Merit list.
Meanwhile, Victorian Luke Hickmott has advanced to Stage Two of qualifying for the 2013 European Tour.
Hickmott finished tied for seventh place at his opening qualifying stage in Austria and, with 15 players moving onto the next stage, was comfortably through.
Fellow Australians Josh White and Dillon Hart missed out.
Further qualifying will take place this week in both England and Germany.
And on the US PGA Tour, John Senden and Adam Scott remain as the only Australians to contest this week’s 30-man Tour Championship.
The play-off finale will be staged at East Lake in Atlanta in two weeks when the FedEx Cup will also be decided.
Senden’s performance means he also qualifies for the first three major championships of 2013.
Fellow Australians Geoff Ogilvy, Greg Chalmers and Marc Leishman were all eliminated.
By: Robert Grant