Crans Montana, September 5: Thai hotshot Pavit Tangkamolprasert hopes to rediscover his best golf at the Omega European Masters which starts on Thursday.
Pavit hopes to put his experience of playing in Europe to good use when he makes his debut appearance at the event, which is the only tournament on European soil to be co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
The 28-year-old Pavit will feature in the Swiss showpiece alongside compatriots Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Thongchai Jaidee, Thaworn Wiratchant and another debutant Phachara Khongwatmai, who won the pro-am on Monday at the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.
Placed 61st on the Order of Merit ranking, Pavit hopes a strong showing at the €2.7 million (approximately US$3.25 million) event will provide a spring in his step in his quest to challenge for a second Asian Tour title and first in Europe.
Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang is relishing a return on the Asian Tour after a five-month lapse which saw him plying his trade in Japan and Europe. Chan enjoyed a tied-49th place result in Crans Montana last year.
After making only two cuts in six starts on the Asian Tour so far this season, Chan is looking to regain top form while getting reacquainted with his friends on the Asian Tour.
Other notable players in the field include defending champion Alex Noren of Sweden, American David Lipsky, England’s Danny Willett, Lee Westwood, Tommy Fleetwood and reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Scott Hend of Australia, who settled for a runner-up finish last year.
“I am feeling confident for this week. I like the layout and I sense some familiarity as it’s similar to the ones we get in Asia. I am used to playing in the cold now after playing a handful of tournaments in Europe. I learned a lot from my experiences. I hope to put that to good use this week.” – Pavit Tangkamolprasert, 28
Did you know?
- Pavit became the first Thai to win the Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit in 2014. He earned his playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2015 season after topping the ADT Merit rankings but failed to keep his card for 2016 as he finished 87th on the money list that year.
- With limited playing opportunities in 2016, Pavit qualified for the Macao Open last October and claimed his maiden Asian Tour title in sensational style that week by defeating Anirban Lahiri on the first play-off hole.
- Pavit earned a two-year exemption on the Asian Tour following his win and ended his 2016 season with a career-high 10th place finish on the Order of Merit.
- Both Pavit and Chan are ADT graduates. They each hold a record five victories on the Asian Tour’s secondary circuit. They remain the only two players to win three times in a single season on the ADT in 2014.
- Chan’s breakthough came at the King’s Cup last July. He went on to win a second Asian Tour title at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup in Japan two months later, finishing the season in fourth place on the money list.
- Lipsky is the only Asian Tour member to win the Swiss showpiece in 2014. He won the Asian Tour Order of Merit that year and is currently leading the Merit rankings on the region’s premier Tour.
Pavit Tangkamolprasert (Tha)
I have been playing in Europe for a while now and this is the first time I feel that a golf course in Europe has such resemblance to the ones that I play in Asia. The layout of this course feels similar to the one at the Hong Kong Golf Club. The previous few courses that I have played in Europe are all wide and windy and the roughs are pretty different.
I am still trying to cope with the distance control here. The ball kind of go further in this air on the mountain. That was what happened when I played the pro-am tournament yesterday. Distance control is important on this golf course so hopefully I can adjust to it before the tournament starts.
I am feeling confident for this week. I like the layout and I sense some familiarity as it’s similar to the ones we get in Asia. I am used to playing in the cold now after playing a handful of tournaments in Europe. I only made two cuts so far in Europe but I learned a lot from my experiences. I hope to put that to good use this week.
I learned to play in the wind. I hit a lot of lower balls here in Europe because it’s so windy. I never used to hit low balls back in Asia. I have been working on hitting a lot of low balls after coming to Europe and it’s getting better now.
I like this course. If I can stay true to my good form this week, I should be able to do well. The target is to finish inside top-20. I hit some good qualify shots in the pro-am yesterday. I think I just need to manage the distances better.
The focus will be back on the Asian Tour for the rest of the season. This week will be a good opportunity for me to get off to a good start for the remainder of the season. A good result will be a great boost of confidence for me to prepare for my title defence in Macao next month.
Chan Shih-chang (Tpe)
It has been pretty tough here in Europe. I haven’t been playing really well. It’s very different playing in Europe compared to playing in Asia. It’s way more challenging here, be it the standard of play or the golf courses. It can get pretty stressful especially when you don’t hit it as long as other players.
But having said that, I have learned a lot and I am confident the experience will help me in time to come. This is my second time playing the Omega European Masters. The course is very beautiful. I made the cut last year so there is a bit of confidence coming into the week.
It’s been awhile since I last played on the Asian Tour. I don’t know many players on the European Tour so it’s definitely good to see some familiar faces from the Asian Tour here. It feels like I am back playing in Asia. I definitely feel more comfortable this week.
David Lipsky (Usa)
This place is beautiful as always. It’s my sixth consecutive year coming back to play here. I look forward to coming back here every year. It’s such a nice event to play.
My game’s feeling pretty good. It’s heading in the right direction. I played pretty well a couple of weeks ago. I am excited to come and play here this week.
I remember hitting some amazing shots coming down the stretch when I won three years ago. Those are what you really need to win the tournament here and I am glad I managed to pull them off that year. Those shots are stuck on my mind since.
Distance control is very important on this course given the altitude. You need to play your irons well to score on this course.
This is my last regular year on the European Tour and I will be back playing quite a bit in Asia after that so winning the Asian Tour Order of Merit for the second time is definitely on my agenda.
About Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), FENIX XCell (Official Apparel Supplier), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner), Panasonic (Official Consumer Electronics) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
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