While the race to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit has already been decided with American Andy Ogletree securing the crown, it will still be a drama- filled weekend at the Saudi Open presented by Public Investment Fund for players on both sides of the bubble trying to keep their cards by finishing inside the top 65.
This week’s $1-million tournament is the last event of the 2023 season and is being played at Riyadh Golf Club.
The points for this week have been elevated to a tier-three tournament on par with International Series events – so points available will be considerably higher than other $1-million events this season. The winner for example will earn 700 points, solo 10th 80 points, while those in last place receive just four points.
Ogletree, who is not playing this week, triumphed twice this year and has an unassailable lead of 2,128.68 points.
Coming into this week the points required for the 65th and final spot were 290, and it was South African Jbe’ Kruger sitting in this unenviable position. The two-time Asian Tour winner safely made the cut yesterday and sits in tied 34th place after rounds of 71 and 70, but with projected points for 65th place going up to around the 320-335 mark, he will still have some work to do over the weekend to secure his status.
Sweden’s Björn Hellgren is 60th on the Order of Merit with 317.43 points and almost certainly needed to make the cut to have a chance to keep his card. Handling the pressure well, he returned rounds of 69 and 67 to sit in solo fifth place and has an excellent chance of keeping his card.
Closely behind in 61st place and in the same situation is Ajeetesh Sandhu from India on 316.2 points, and while he made the cut by one shot, he was still in the danger zone as the projection after day two had him hanging on in the 65th and final place.
Korean Yeongsu Kim started in 62nd place with 311 points and he also made it to the weekend just one stroke above the cut line but he is currently projected to slip to 66th and will need to shift gear.