Sentosa, Singapore, December 28: American rookie Johannes Veerman ended the year in style by winning the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit following the conclusion of the 2016 season at the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship on Sunday.
The 24-year-old Texan capped one victory in Chinese Taipei and five top-10s to become the third American, following the footsteps of compatriots, Jonathan Moore in 2011 and Casey O’Toole in 2015, to lift the Order of Merit trophy since the ADT was launched as gateway to the Asian Tour in 2010.
Apart from topping the 2016 ADT rankings with a season’s haul of US$58,662, Veerman also secured his 2017 Asian Tour card by breaking into top-60 on the 2016 Asian Tour Order of Merit. He finished 50th on the money list thanks to four top-10s in Bangladesh, Chinese Taipei, Macau and Indonesia.
Veerman’s success eventually allowed the next best five players on the final ADT rankings-Gavin Green of Malaysia, Oscar Zetterwall of Sweden, Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat, Suradit Yongcharoenchai and compatriot John Michael O’Toole, to be rewarded with playing rights on the Asian Tour in 2017.
It was a season to remember for Veerman, who is playing in only his second year as a professional. The talented Texan did not missed a single cut in nine starts on the Asian Tour since coming through the Qualifying School earlier in January.
“This achievement is a great confidence booster. The tournaments are packed with talented players every week. Winning the Order of Merit is such an honour because I have such high regards for my fellow players. I had a solid season. I was able to play consistent throughout the year, which was something that I had to learn to do.
“It helped a lot that the first six months were mostly ADT events. I learned a lot by playing in those events which I believe helped me in the second part of the season when I played mainly Asian Tour events,” said Veerman, whose mother is Indonesian.
Thanks to his success in Asia, Veerman ended the year in 314th position on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). He was ranked 1711th in the world 12 months ago.
“Playing in the ADT was crucial to developing my skills as a touring professional. I learned to travel. I learned to adjust to different environments, but most of all I learned how to compete. Playing on the ADT has been an unbelievable experience for me.
“I am excited about 2017. I hope to carry what I learned and did well in 2016 on into 2017. I think if I can just play my game, 2017 will be another year full of surprises,” added Veerman.
Green and Zetterwall, both a two-time winner this season, finished second and third on the Order of Merit with earnings of US$55,477 and US$44,448 respectively.
Itthipat, who won the ADT season-opener in Singapore in January, added four more top-10s to end the season in fourth with US$37,472 while Suradit, only 17 years old, capped a solid rookie season by finishing about US$2,700 short in fifth.
O’Toole, like his cousin and 2015 ADT Order of Merit champion Casey, reaped his rewards from playing on the ADT where he finished sixth with total earnings of US$27,271, grabbing the fifth and final Asian Tour card on offer for 2017.
The ADT concluded its seventh season with a total of 24 tournaments. A total of 17 tournaments has so far been confirmed for 2017 with several more to be announced in due course.