Chonburi (Thailand): Indian golfer SSP Chowrasia, who led the pack for quite some time this year, ended third as Filipino Juvic Pagunsan won the Asian Tour Order of Merit champion on Sunday.
Pagunsan won USD 788,299 and he was followed by Tetsuji Hiratsuka of Japan, who today finished in a tie for ninth and moved from third to second place, as SSP Chowrasia was pushed to this place.
Hiratsuka`s earnings were USD 456,668 and Chowrasia, who missed the cut this week, earned USD 444,528.
Pagunsan became the first Filipino to lift the coveted trophy. He topped the rankings with a princely haul of USD 788,298 highlighted by his second place finish at the Barclays Singapore Open followed by top-10 finishes at the UBS Hong Kong Open, ISPS Handa Singapore Classic and Mercuries Taiwan Masters.
At Singapore Pagunsan overtook Chowrasia, who was leading on the strength of his win at the Avantha Masters in India.
On Sunday, Hiratsuka finished tied ninth with India`s Jeev Milkha Singh and finished second.
Through his Order of Merit success, Pagunsan will be exempt into next year`s British Open and the World Golf Championship-Cadillac Championship in the United States. He said he will look forward to his Major debut.
"I`m feeling very happy to be the first Filipino to win this prestigious award. Honestly, I`m shocked that I`ve won it but it is a fantastic feeling. I`m glad I`ve been given this opportunity to win such an honour. Without the Asian Tour there`s no Juvic Pagunsan," he said.