TAIWAN’S Lin Wen-tang returns to the Solaire Open next week in high spirits, upbeat of his chances for a title repeat against the country’s best shotmakers and the leading players on the Asian Tour.
Lin snapped a four-year title drought on the Asian Tour when he dramatically won the inaugural Solaire Open after escaping twice from the trees in the final round to defeat Thai veteran Thammanoon Sriroj and Canadian Richard Lee by one shot at Wack Wack last year.
The memories are still fresh in his mind and he is eager to successfully defend his title in the $300,000 Asian Tour event at The Country Club from March 13 to 16.
“It’s great that the tournament is coming back again and I look forward to have a chance to defend my title,” said Lin, whose sixth Asian Tour victory made him the most successful Chinese Taipei player on the region’s premier Tour.
Although a different challenge awaits the elite field at the wind-raked, challenging The Country Club layout with lightning-fast greens, Lin remains confident of his chances in the 72-hole championship sponsored by Solaire Resort and Casino for the second straight year.
“The win was very important because it wasn’t smooth sailing for me for the last couple of years before that win. It was like a turning point in my golf career and it gave me the confidence to excel in my game again” said Lin.
The Taiwanese ace will be joined by a host of Asian Tour stars, including Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, Anirban Lahiri of India and Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand, who are all members of Team Asia for the inaugural EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM, two-time Order of Merit winner Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand and the talented David Lipsky of the United States.
In preparation for his title defense, Lin has been working on his fitness which he believes is crucial for him to keep up with the younger players who will join in the title hunt in the second edition of the Solaire Open serving as the second leg of this year’s Asian Tour.
“My current form is pretty good. I’ve been working out a lot lately. I go jogging every day and I hit the gym twice a week. I’ve got to keep up on my fitness a bit after all the feasting during Chinese New Year!” said the 39-year-old Lin.
Lin had earlier played a round at TCC several years ago with some friends.
“Yes, I’m looking forward to playing at The Country Club. I remember playing there before but it was a long time ago. I’m very excited to start my season at the Solaire Open. It feels like a new challenge for me so hopefully I can successfully defend my title,” said Lin.