Juvic Pagunsan also Players’ Player of the Year
BANGKOK—Filipino history-maker Juvic Pagunsan claimed two prestigious titles when he was named the Players’ Player of the Year at the Asian Tour Awards Gala to go with the prestigious Order of Merit crown held at the St. Regis Hotel on Sunday night.
The 33-year-old Pagunsan will enter the Asian Tour golf annals as the first Filipino to reach the summit of the just concluded 2011 season which came to an exciting close at the inaugural Thailand Golf Championship.
Pagunsan’s rise was due largely to a magical November where he finished second in the lucrative Barclays Singapore Open, which earned him $666,660. He also registered three other top-10s at the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic, Mercuries Taiwan Masters and UBS Hong Kong Open to end the year with $788,298 (P34.29 million).
The unassuming Filipino also earned the respect of his peers by picking up the Players’ Player of the Year title, which is determined through voting, after a consistent season which saw him miss only two cuts.
“It is an honor to be voted as the Players’ Player of the Year,” said Pagunsan. “It shows that my fellow competitors also believe in my abilities. I am proud of this achievement.”
Korean superstar KJ Choi was honored with the Asian Tour’s Special Achievement Award for winning the Players Championship, regarded as the world’s unofficial fifth Major, on the PGA Tour in May and also for his contribution to the game and society.
Tjart Van Der Walt of South Africa was named Rookie of the Year after a fine season where he produced five top-10s, including a runner-up finish at the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic. He had $187,676 in winnings.
Korea’s Noh Seung-yul, the 2010 Order of Merit champion, topped the Driving Average category with a driving average of 312 yards while Rick Gibson of Canada was the straightest driver of the ball throughout the season with an 81 percent fairway hit rate.
Thai star Thongchai Jaidee took home the sought-after Lowest Stroke Average category with 69.84.
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