After matching Greg Norman’s course record at the Canyon Course and becoming the first winner of the Asian Tour 2021, Chan Shih-chang is eyeing another feat that no other Taiwanese has achieved in the past 27 years.

The 35-year-old is fresh from becoming the first winner on the Asian Tour following a 20-month hiatus due to the pandemic. Now, he wants the Asian Tour Order of Merit title.

Chan moved into second place on the Merit list and is looking to build on the momentum from that win at the Laguna Phuket Championship, which tees-off tomorrow at Laguna Golf Phuket ‒ in what is the second and final leg of the Asian Tour Phuket Series.

“Now that I’m second on the Order of Merit, I am going to try to win the Merit list,” Chan, who received a cheque for $180,000 on Sunday (Nov. 28), said.

“There are still a few events to go and it’s not easy to win it but now that I have a chance, I will go for it and do my best,” he added.

Australian Wade Ormsby, also playing this week, currently leads the Merit list with earnings of $237,003, Chan is second on $211,775, while 19-year-old Joohyung Kim sits third with $194,628.

The last player from Chan’s homeland to claim the Merit crown was Lin Keng-chi in 1995.

“I was struggling with a stiff neck on the first day I got to Phuket. I didn’t sleep well and could not quite complete my swing, actually. I felt like I could only go back three quarters and I couldn’t hit it hard too.”

Despite that, he shot a final-round four-under-par 68 to finish on 18 under par at Blue Canyon and beat two rising stars in the game, Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana and Kim, by a shot.

“I felt like I was swinging with a rain jacket on. Thankfully the course last week wasn’t too long. As long as I can find the fairway, I’m okay with my second shots and short game, which are my strengths.”

It was his first win on the Asian Tour in five years. Both his previous wins came in 2016, first in the King’s Cup here in Thailand and then the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup in Japan. He is also a six-time winner on the Asian Development Tour ‒ the last of those coming in 2018.

Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei Photo credit: Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour