Inside the Ropes - Vol 1

Timmy Constantine Low highlights 3 Asian Tour players to keep an eye on in 2024

Thank you to Timmy Constantine Low for taking the time to provide fantastic insight on these players. Timmy is a former touring professional who now works as a commentator for the Asian Tour, Korean LPGA tour, and Japan’s LPGA Tour.

Be sure to follow Timmy on X (@theblondedragon) and Instagram (@theblondedragon) for more!

How can you not put the man nicknamed “diamond” on this list? Phachara has been a permanent fixture on the Asian Tour since turning pro at the age of 14 what seemed like a lifetime ago. He’s racked up over 2.3 million in career earnings on the Asian Tour (plus over 1 million and change in his single season on LIV in 2022)

Since he began working with longtime friend and former Asian Development Tour order of merit winner, Pannakorn Uthaipas, Phachara has seen steady improvement in all facets of his game. He’s always been one of the best putters on tour (the kid makes more 8-15 footers than pretty much anyone in the game) and couple that with an increasingly solid tee to green game and that’s surely a recipe for success. He also led the tour in number of birdies made during the 2023 season.

People may knock him for the fact he hasn’t won more. With just 1 Asian Tour title and 9 runner up finishes (3 in 2022 alone) one could be forgiven if they made the assumption that he can’t close our tournaments. But make no mistake, he’s been knocking on the door plenty since his 2021 win in Phuket and has a final round scoring average of 67.5 across all his near misses - Phachara doesn’t give away tournaments, you have to earn them.

Phachara Khongwatmai will win again, he’s too good a player not to, and mark my words when he does have the breaks go his way he will win in bunches. Will 2024 be the year for it? It’ll take a brave soul to bet against “Diamond”

After a breakout year that saw Taichi claim not only a historic breakthrough Asian Tour title (at his home club no less), the Asian Games gold medal (fending off PGA Tour winners Si Woo Kim and Sungjae Im) and rookie of the year honours on the Asian Tour I’m curious to see how the richly talented youngster from Hong Kong gets on this season.

He ranks inside the top 35 on every major statistical category except 1 - scrambling. He’s fairly handy from tee to green and has the 20th best average on tour when it comes to putts per green in regulation but some less than tidy wedge work around the greens has proven costly on more than one occasion for Kho. A glaring stat that did not go unnoticed by his longtime coach, Jonathan Wallet. The pair spent just over a week in Australia in a full on training camp in January to get Taichi ready for 2024.

He’s got a great head on his shoulders, speaks (and thinks) with a maturity beyond his years and has the unconditional support of his little island nation. The sky is truly the limit for Taichi. As long as he doesn’t start to feel the inevitable weight of expectations the further he ascends in the game he’ll be one to watch for years to come.

Miguel almost completed the perfect redemption arc in 2023, falling just short of the Order Of Merit crown (thanks to an utterly dominant season by Andy Ogletree). Not bad for a guy who kept his card by $71.98 at the end of the 2022 season! The phenomenally talented Tabuena first rose to prominence when he entered the final round of the 2012 Philippine Open trailing Mardan Mamat by a single shot. The then 17 year old Miguel succumbed to the gravity of the moment at the infamous Wack Wack country club that Sunday, carding an 81 to finish T11 but he would eventually breakthrough at his national open 3 years later at the same venue.

Miguel’s rise and fall and rise again in the game of golf really has captivated Asian Tour audiences for more than a decade now. Small in stature but blessed with a power players game he’s long been known to be a ball striking machine. When the putter cooperates he’s as dangerous as they come.

His 3rd Asian Tour win in 2023 came off the back of a brilliant blemish free Sunday 65 at the notoriously claustrophobic Delhi golf club. But the battle to keep his ball out of the Indian capital’s infamous thorn bushes paled in comparison to the rollercoaster of emotions he had been through over the last 24 months. In 2021 his father Luigi had a smattering of health issues which resulted in a triple bypass operation in Texas just before Christmas that year. Tabuena quickly came to the realisation all come to grasp eventually - Golf isn’t the most important thing in the world.

Thankfully Luigi has since made a full recovery and has been out and about following his son at the odd event here and there. Miguel’s renewed vigour for competition and fresh perspective on life led him to arguably his best season on tour yet in 2023.

And if there was a way to quantify a statistic like “strokes gained perspective” he’ll head into the 2024 season leading that category having just welcomed his first child, Paloma Loren Tabuena into the world this past Christmas.


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