Ervin eager to compete against big boys at Saudi International

KUALA LUMPUR: Golfer Ervin Chang is relishing the prospect of teeing up alongside big names such as Dustin Johnson and Cameron Smith at the Saudi International which begins tomorrow.

The tournament will serve as the season opener for the Asian Tour and offers a prize purse of US$5 million (RM21.33 million), the richest on the region’s premier circuit.

Despite not being an Asian Tour member, Ervin made the tournament’s 126-man field courtesy of a sponsor’s invitation and is determined to justify it with a strong showing this week.

Ervin will be the sole Malaysian representative in the tournament. Also in the field are former PGA Tour heavyweights Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau and Paul Casey.

Ervin, who turned pro in June last year, cannot wait to compete at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club.

“This is my biggest pro start (so far) and I feel I’m blessed to get the opportunity to compete with high-level players,” said Ervin today.

“I’m really looking forward to test out my skill sets.”

Ervin claimed two gold medals at the Hanoi Sea Games last year and did not do too badly in his first six months as a professional.

Despite joining in the second-half of the season last year, Ervin performed consistently to finish 15th overall on the Asian Development Tour (ADT). He narrowly missed out on the top-10 cut for promotion to the Asian Tour.

His decent performances landed him The Kyi Hla Han Future Champions Award – a mission-driven annual initiative set up last year in memory of the late and great former Asian Tour number one and Asian Tour executive chairman.

Ervin made another bid to secure an Asian Tour card through its Qualifying School in Thailand last month but it did not come to fruition.

However, Ervin believes he is progressing in the right direction.

“It’s been eventful and challenging. I really enjoy the competition (on tour) and how challenging some of the course conditions can be at certain tournaments,” said Ervin.

“There were many ups and downs during Q school but I continue to learn from my mistakes and work on them. It may take some time to see results but that’s part of the great game of golf.

“I know I have the ability to compete at a high level. I just need to continue to find my zone, do the necessary preparation work, give it my best and never ever give up.”


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