Prayad eyes record third win #QueensCupGolf

Wed 15 Jun 2016

Prayad eyes record third win #QueensCupGolf

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Samui, Thailand, June 15: Title holder Prayad Marksaeng will be aiming to become the first man to win the Queen’s Cup three times when the popular US$300,000 Asian Tour event begins tomorrow.
Despite turning 50 in January, home star Prayad is confident he can remain competitive at the highest level but standing in his way is close friend Thaworn Wiratchant, also seeking a Queen’s Cup hat-trick, in-form Korean Jeunghun Wang, Australian Scott Hend and India’s S.S.P Chawrasia, all ranked in the top-10 of the Order of Merit.
Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand
Prayad and Thaworn, who is 49, have dominated the Queen’s Cup at the par-71 Santiburi Samui Country Club since 2012, with either player lifting the prestigious trophy over the past four seasons.
The smooth-swinging Prayad reckons Thaworn, a former double Asian Tour number one, will pose as his biggest challenger in his title defence despite the latter struggling to hit top form this season.
“Thaworn always plays very well at Santiburi Samui. His putting game is perfect here. I know he is working hard on his iron game. I hope he can come back to win again this week. We are very good friends. I cheer for him to win or any Thai player for that matter. Anyway I will play my best to try to win for a third time,” said Prayad, a nine-time winner on the Asian Tour.
Prayad feels right at home on the holiday isle of Samui where his track record at Santiburi Samui speaks for itself. Apart from two victories, he has finished second once and joint sixth twice.
“I’ve played at Santiburi Samui so many times. I remember every angle of this course. I love playing here. Every Thai players hope to win the Queen's Cup, King's Cup or Thailand Open at least once which are the Royal trophies. The hope drives all Thai players to win,” he said.
After turning 50, Prayad now plays on the senior circuit in Japan as well but he is not ready to stop competing against the young legion of stars emerging on the Asian Tour.
2016 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open: Day 4“I don't feel old. Nothing has changed. If you feel you are old, you will be old. My brain is still perfect. My imagination is still working. I still keep my routine both in and off the course,” said Prayad.
Thaworn, who has only one top-20 to show for this season, is predicting Prayad will feature prominently on the leaderboard again.
“Prayad has a chance to win a third time. Even though he has turned senior, he is still in good form. He will be the one we have to keep our eyes on,” said Thaworn, winner of a record 18 titles on the Asian Tour.
“I’m still struggling with my game, every part from driver to the putter. I'm not in form yet and I’m still trying to work it out.”
Wang, 20, is tipped to challenge for a third victory of the season after winning back-to-back in Morocco and Mauritius last month. The 73rd ranked golfer in the world believes his rise to form has been very much due to valuable experiences gained during his early years on the Asian Tour.
“I have improved by playing in tournaments in Asia. I’ve learned a lot. Previously, I would just hit ball after ball on the range, but now, I’ve learned how to play the course better and it’s helped with my course management,” said Wang, who is second on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
SSP Chawrasia of India SSP Chawrasia of India
The young Korean revealed the painful loss at the 2014 Dubai Open where he led by one with one hole to play was a big turning point in his fledgling career. “It was better to not win in Dubai. If I’d won, I wouldn’t have gotten the experience of contending and losing. Dubai helped me to win (in Mauritius and Morocco). I was crying after that. It was learning how to win which encouraged me,” he said.
Chawrasia, sixth at Santiburi Samui last season, is eager to contend at a venue which is well suited to his straight-shooting game. He won the Hero Indian Open earlier in the year. “It’s a very good course, but it’s also tough and tricky. That’s why people have different views. It’s tough, it’s windy and the fairways are tricky. Asian courses are normally flat but this is very hilly.
“I’m just trying to hit it straight when I am here as the course is so narrow. That’s the plan this week,” said the Indian star, who is currently sixth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
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 ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), FENIX XCell (Official Apparel Supplier), Fuji Xerox (Official Office Solutions Partner), Hilton Worldwide (Official Hotel Partner), Titleist (Official Web Partner) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf , www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf , www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.