Singapore: Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines made a massive jump from way down in the Order of Merit to the very top in a single dash at the rain-shortened USD 6 million Barclays Singapore Open where he finished second after losing a play-off to Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.
Pagunsan displaced Indian golfer Chowrasia ($444,528.50) from the top after earning USD 666,660 - his career biggest cheque - following his second place finish here. He now has USD 721, 298.60 and leads Chowrasia by USD 276,770.10.
Chowrasia missed the cut, as did Japan's Tetsuji Hiratsuka, Australian David Gleeson and Bangladeshi Siddikur - the next three on the Order of Merit.
There are three other Indians in the top-20. Himmat Rai (USD 187,040.86) made a smart move up by picking USD 86,600 for his tied 13th place finish in Singapore and is now 14th on the Money List.
One place behind him is Chiragh Kumar (USD 176,337.29), one of the only three to make the cut in Singapore and the next placed at 16th is the Indian stalwart Jeev Milkha Singh (USD 171,958.15).
Shiv Kapur dropped out of top-20 and is now 23rd with USD 144,580, Sujjan Singh (USD 118,144) is 28th and Anirban Lahiri (USD 107,550) is 29th. Manav Jaini at 56th with USD 62,532 is the only other Indian in top-60. Jyoti Randhawa is currently lying 68th and Gaganjeet Bhullar is 80th.
If Pagunsan finishes on top, he will be the first Filipino to win the prestigious Order of Merit title. There are only three events remaining on the 2011 Asian Tour Schedule - the Johor Open, Hong Kong Open and Thai Championships.
"I will play in the rest of the events in Asia and I want to get the Order of Merit title. I really want to get that. It is a big achievement for my life," added Pagunsan, whose lone victory on the Asian Tour was in 2007.
The Asian Tour now heads to the Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia, which is just across the border from Singapore to compete in the USD 2 million tournament, which is also sanctioned by the European Tour for the first time.
Among the many rewards of winning the Order of Merit are berths at the British Open and WGC Cadillac Championship next season.