Phachara aims to sparkle in Jakarta

Sat 18 Apr 2015

Phachara aims to sparkle in Jakarta

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Jakarta, April 18: Thai prodigy Phachara Khongwatmai hopes to shine in his debut at the US$750,000 CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters Presented by Enjoy Jakarta Golf next week.
All eyes will be on the 15-year-old Phachara, whose name means ‘Diamond’ in Thai, when he tees up alongside world class stars such as Lee Westwood and Thomas Bjorn in the prestigious Asian Tour event at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club.
The slightly built Phachara has sparkled in the professional ranks where he became the youngest winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), which is the feeder circuit to the Asian Tour, last month.
Prior to that, Phachara made headlines when he won a professional tournament at the 2013 Hua Hin Open while still an amateur before joining the play-for-pay ranks last August and earning his Asian Tour card at Qualifying School in January.
“I started playing golf when I was nine years old. I had to choose between golf and tennis and I chose golf. When I first touched a golf club for the first time, I started to love golf. I enjoyed going to the driving range, meeting friends and people,” said Phachara.
The Hatyai native said it was always his desire to turn professional and make golf his career as soon as he felt his game was ready. Despite dropping out of school, Phachara had the blessings of his parents to chase his childhood dream of making it big in golf.
“I told my dad that I will turn pro when I was 14 years old. My parents discussed about this as I have to leave normal school and study at a Non-Formal Education Centre. My parents agreed to that,” said the Thai, who rates Luke Donald as his favourite golfer.
As soon as he turned 14, Phachara honed his skills at the All Thailand Golf Tour before heading to the Asian Tour Qualifying School where he fired an opening 66 before nerves started to creep in. He eventually finished one spot inside the top-40 cut-line to earn a Tour card.
“The All Thailand Tour was the place for me to practice when I was amateur. I played with good professionals and that experience helps me when I play in international tournaments. I got just a bit nervous at Qualifying School,” said Phachara.
He hopes to produce a strong result at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters, which has become one of the premier events on the Asian Tour since its inauguration in 2011.
“I will try my best to finish inside the top-60 on the Order of Merit at the end of this year. I hope to continue my rhythm after winning in Malaysia (on the ADT),” said Phachara, who enjoys playing football and basketball with his friends during his time away from golf.
Like Thai legend Thaworn Wiratchant, who holds an unprecedented 18 Asian Tour titles, Phachara credits hard work for his early success at such a young age.
“I work a lot on my golf skill. I have coach in Hatyai, his name is Wuttinan Chuechamluang and I also have fitness coach in Bangkok. I like to learn every day. I relish the opportunity to play more and more international tournaments because I will gain a lot of experience from there,” he said.
Sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the PGA Tour of Indonesia, the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters Presented by Enjoy Jakarta Golf will feature 24 Indonesian golfers, 20 professionals from the PGA Tour of Indonesia and four of Indonesia’s top amateurs who will compete in the 150 player field over 72 holes of individual stroke play.
About CIMB Niaga
CIMB Niaga was established as Bank Niaga in 1955. CIMB Group holds around 97.9% of the stakes in CIMB Niaga (including PT Commerce Kapital 1.02%). The Bank offers a comprehensive suite of both conventional and Islamic banking products and services, through an expanding delivery channel network of 968 offices all over Indonesia as at 30 September 2014, including 573 branches, 329 Mikro Laju units (including 20 outlets attached to a branch), 66 cash/payment points and 20 mobile branches. CIMB Niaga has 14,853 employees.
CIMB Niaga encourages people to share high growth and take advantage of all the potential that the South-East Asia regions bring – in line with CIMB Group’s brand positioning: “ASEAN for You”.
CIMB Group is Malaysia’s second largest financial services provider and one of ASEAN’s leading universal banking groups. It offers consumer banking, investment banking, Islamic banking, asset management and insurance products and services. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, the Group is now present in 9 out of 10 ASEAN nations (Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Brunei, Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos). Beyond ASEAN, the Group has market presence in China, Hong Kong, Bahrain, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Australia, the US, UK and Korea. CIMB Group is listed on the Malaysian stock exchange via CIMB Group Holdings Berhad. It had a market capitalisation of USD17.9 billion as at 30 September 2014. The Group has over 40,000 employees located in 18 countries.
About the 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 FENIX Golf (Official Apparel Supplier), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Sponsor), Oakley (Official Eyewear and Footwear Sponsor), PRG (Official Accessories Supplier), Srixon (Official Ball), Titleist (Official Web Partner) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.