Thai Star Thaworn Aims to Soar

Wed 05 Dec 2012

Thai Star Thaworn Aims to Soar

Chonburi, Thailand, December 5: Thai great Thaworn Wiratchant hopes his wife’s rare presence at the Thailand Golf Championship will spur him to a strong showing as he continues his pursuit of a second Asian Tour’s Order of Merit crown starting on Thursday.

“My wife will come for the first round tomorrow. I’m not sure why as she normally doesn’t come. Hopefully she’ll come and give me some good luck. I think she’ll probably just stay around the 18th green,” said Thaworn today

Currently leading the Merit list with US$670,506 courtesy of three victories this season, Thaworn expects a tough challenge against a stellar field led by title holder Lee Westwoold and reigning Masters Tournament champion Bubba Watson.

He will play alongside world number six Westwood and newly crowned Japan number one Hiroyuki Fujita in the opening two rounds at Amata Spring Country Club.

“For me, if I can make the cut first and finish top-20, I’ll be happy. The course is very difficult for me,” said the 45-year-old, who finished tied second in the King’s Cup on Sunday.

Jbe Kruger of South Africa and an in-form Gaganjeet Bhullar of India, ranked third and fourth, can narrow the gap on Thaworn with solid performances in the US$1 million championship. Second-ranked Marcus Fraser of Australia is not playing this week.

The penultimate Asian Tour event this week has attracted many of world’s renowned players including Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium, Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, American Hunter Mahan, Spaniard Sergio Garcia, Charl Schwartzel of South Africa and Japanese sensation Ryo Ishikawa.

Thaworn is looking forward to his pairing with Westwood but said he won’t be caught star-gazing. “I’ll play my game. If I can make birdies, then it’ll be good. I’ll be concentrating only on my own game,” said Thaworn, who is aiming for a second Order of Merit victory after his 2005 triumph.

“I’m feeling good but the golf course is too long and soft. The rough is difficult. Yesterday, I hit into the rough on about five to six occasions and could only chip out. I need to plan for my tee shots to be good. You need to hit fairways here this week.

“On a lot of the par fours, I’m using mid-irons to go into the green. The par fives are also long. The rough is not very high but the ball sits in the grass. Most of the times, you can only chip it out,” said Thaworn.

The Thai, who holds the record of 15 Asian Tour titles, said he feels the additional pressure whenever he competes on home soil but hopes his wife’s presence will spur him on. “I always prefer to play tournaments outside of Thailand. If you play bad here, fans will ask ‘why you play bad. Why practice too much and play bad?’ Only good thing is that I get to sleep on my own bed and I’ve got a good bed,” he said.

With two more events left on the Asian Tour, Kruger, winner of the Avantha Masters in India in February, hopes to end the year on a high note as he prepares to launch a final charge on the Order of Merit title.

“There’s a bit of pressure playing this week. If I play well this week then I will play in Johor and try to win it (Order of Merit). It has been an up-and-down season. If you would have told me I would perform this way earlier in the season, I would have taken it but it hasn’t been great,” said the South African.

The slightly built Kruger is brimming with new found confidence after playing with Tiger Woods for the first time in the CIMB Classic in Malaysia in October. “It gives me a bit of belief in myself. I played with Tiger and Westwood before. It is fun to play with guys like that. It gives me the confidence that I can play at a top level and beat these guys on the course,” said Kruger.

Asian Tour Qualifying School graduate Arnond Vongvanij of Thailand, who is paired with Watson and Ishikawa in the first two rounds, hopes to continue his dream run after winning his first Asian Tour victory at the King’s Cup on Sunday.

“The win boosted the confidence a bit and letting me know that I can do it. I was on the big stage with Mardan (Mamat) and Thaworn (Wiratchant) being there. This week is completely new for me …. my first big tournament with a lot of Major winners. I’m really excited to seeing how I hold up against them and see what I need to improve,” he said.

“The Thais know the course here quite well. We should have a bit of advantage, having home ground. We’re used to hot weather which will benefit us a bit. But the top players are very good and they are used to playing at different levels, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”


About the Thailand Golf Championship

The primary organizers of the event are Gulf Sports Management, the Asian Tour and IMG. They have been well supported by both government and private organizations such Gulf JP, Siam Commercial Bank, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Toyota Motor Thailand Company Limited, PTT Group Company Limited, PTT Global Chemical Company Limited, Airport Authority of Thailand, PTT Exploration and Production Company limited, IRPC Company Limited, ThaiOil Company Limited, Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, EGCO Engineering Company Limited, Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Public Company Limited, Charoen Pokphand Foods PCL, Omega, Heineken, Nooter/Eriksen, Board of Investment of Thailand, Samitivej Hospital, Amata Spring Country Club, Ricoh, Starwood Hotel & Resorts, CNN, Vina Concha Y Toro S.A, JDeceaux, Major Group, Fenix, ThaiNamThip, Srixon.


Thailand Golf Championship tickets are available at Thaiticketmajor at Baht 300 each for Round 1 and 2 (December 6 and 7). The price for Round 3 (December 8) is Baht 400, and for the final day on December 9 the price is Baht 500. A 4-day package ticket is only Baht 800. For more information, please call 02-262-3456 or visit

Thailand Golf Championship will be broadcasting through Asian Tour Global TV and TrueVisions and you can follow the updated news on:




Twitter: @ThaiGolfChamps


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 Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts), Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Cityneon (Official Event Overlay Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner) and Srixon (Official Ball). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.