Rookie Ervin aims to rock Asian Tour

KUALA LUMPUR: Golfer Ervin Chang has vowed to leave his mark on the Asian Tour next year as a rookie, aiming to elevate his 18-month-young professional career to greater heights.

Things are looking up for the 25-year-old after securing playing privileges on the region's premier circuit through the recently concluded second-tier Asian Development Tour (ADT). The ADT allocates 10 promotion spots to its top 10 performers each year.

Ervin qualified in dramatic fashion with a creditable joint third finish at the US$250,000 (RM1.17mil) Aramco Invitational in Saudi Arabia, the richest event and finale of this season's ADT, last Saturday.

His strong effort propelled him 14 places up, finishing at No. 10 on the ADT Order of Merit, right on the borderline to secure the final ticket.

"I knew there was always a chance, especially with Aramco being the largest purse for the entire year of ADT, anything can happen," said Ervin, Malaysia's first-ever double Sea Games gold medallist in golf in Hanoi in May last year before turning professional a month later.

"I just focused on what I could leading up to the Aramco event. There were times when it was stressful because I wasn't striking my shots or playing as well as I wanted. Some of my struggles were more on the mental side, so I spent extra time working on my mental game to strengthen it."

Ervin describes his successful Asian Tour card bid as a "new chapter" and aims to make the most of it.

"I'm really pumped that I got my Asian Tour card by finishing in the top 10 on the ADT. It is something that my team and I have been working on since the day I turned professional," said Ervin.

"This is a new chapter for me, although I've played a few Asian Tour events this year."

Ervin is no stranger to the Asian Tour, having made six starts this year through sponsors' invites, courtesy of being the recipient of The Kyi Hla Han Future Champions Award.

The award is a mission-driven annual initiative set up by the Asian Tour in 2021 in memory of the late and great former Asian Tour number one and Asian Tour executive chairman.

Ervin demonstrated that he has the pedigree to compete alongside Asian Tour elites, making four cuts from six appearances, with his best result being a solid tied-19th at the Indonesia Open in August.

Ervin remains grounded, with producing consistent results and keeping his tour card as the main goals for his rookie year.

"The level is definitely higher, and the start won't be easy, but I'm looking forward to competing against high-level players," he said.

"I find competing at high-level events really enjoyable. Of course, I am going to continue to work hard on my game to improve further. Keeping the card is definitely part of the goals I have."

On the local front, Ervin has already proven himself as one of the best in the country.

In this season's Toyota Tour, he topped the money list with a season tally of RM151,796 from nine starts.

He secured his sole victory at the Mirai Cup and boasted five other top-five finishes.

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