Thongchai stays in the mix

Thu 06 Nov 2014

Thongchai stays in the mix

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Shanghai, November 6: Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee ensured an Asian presence among the early leaders when he posted a one-under-par 71 after the opening round of the US$8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions on Thursday.
The Thai, who is one of the highest ranked Asian players at the Chinese showpiece this week, trails Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell by four shots after the former US Open champion opened his accounts with a 67 to take prime position at the Sheshan International Golf Club.
“Considering how tough the course conditions were out there today, I’m pleased with how I’ve played. An under-par score is something I can be happy about,” said the world number 42.
Starting on the par-four 10, Thongchai birdied 11 but dropped his only shot of the day at 15. He parred the next six holes before picking up another gain on the fourth hole in his homeward run.
“You wouldn’t want to miss the fairways here as it’ll be very difficult from the rough and the pin positions can be very challenging too,” said the three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner.
The Thai maestro has already enjoyed one win and seven top-10s this season and is looking forward to another memorable outing at the WGC-HSBC Champions, which brings together 40 of the top 50 players in the world.
“Tomorrow’s another day and hopefully it can get even better. My putting is okay but I’ve got to work on my driver as this is a fairly long course and it’s a big test with the distance,” said Thongchai.
McDowell produced a flawless outward-nine by firing five birdies before mixing two birdies against two bogeys on his homerun to establish a two-shot lead over six players that include American Rickie Fowler and Germany’s Martin Kaymer.
“Obviously the course played fairly difficult today. The wind direction had switched completely from practice, some of the game plan had switched a little bit and some of the holes were playing pretty long. This is as tough off the tee as I think I've ever seen this golf course.
“Seven under par through 12 holes was a beautiful start, and although I dropped a couple coming in, all in all I’m very, very pleased with five under par on what I thought was a reasonably tricky day,” said McDowell.
Kaymer, who won the WGC-HSBC Champions in 2011, echoed McDowell’s assessment of the challenging conditions but is banking on his ‘feel-good’ memories for another grandstand finish.
“I think it's a very good score, especially the first nine we played, which was difficult.  It was windy and we were one of the groups in the back of the field today so the greens, although still good, were a little slower.
“It's a good start and I really enjoy playing here. At one point I was level par today, but I just kept telling myself that I enjoy the golf course so much, and there will be plenty of birdie chances, so I just need to wait. Fortunately on the back nine it turned out well,” said Kaymer.
The WGC-HSBC Champions is one of four World Golf Championships sanctioned and organised by the operational committee of the International Federation of PGA Tours, which includes the Asian Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour. The other World Golf Championships include the WGC- Match Play, WGC-Cadillac Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Leading scores after round 1 of the WGC - HSBC Champions being played at the par 72, 7261 Yards Sheshan International Golf Club course (am - denotes amateur):
67 - Graeme MCDOWELL (NIR).
69 - Rickie FOWLER (USA), Brandt SNEDEKER (USA), Chris KIRK (USA), Martin KAYMER (GER), Tommy FLEETWOOD (ENG), Tim CLARK (RSA).
70 - Lee WESTWOOD (ENG), Louis OOSTHUIZEN (RSA), Ian POULTER (ENG), Adam SCOTT (AUS), KIM Hyung-sung (KOR), Bill HAAS (USA), Jordan SPIETH (USA), Henrik STENSON (SWE), J B HOLMES (USA), Jaco VAN ZYL (RSA), Dawie VAN DER WALT (RSA).
71 - Thongchai JAIDEE (THA), Kevin NA (USA), Oliver WILSON (ENG), Jonas BLIXT (SWE), Brendon TODD (USA), Patrick REED (USA), Jamie DONALDSON (WAL), Russell HENLEY (USA), Bubba WATSON (USA).
72 - Jason DUFNER (USA), Stephen GALLACHER (SCO), Keegan BRADLEY (USA), George COETZEE (RSA), Marc LEISHMAN (AUS), Thomas BJORN (DEN), Thorbjorn OLESEN (DEN), Marcel SIEM (GER), Justin ROSE (ENG).
73 - Hiroshi IWATA (JPN), Gary WOODLAND (USA), John SENDEN (AUS), ZHANG Lianwei (CHN), Jimmy WALKER (USA).
Ends.
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 Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Sponsor), Oakley (Official Eyewear and Footwear Sponsor), PRG (Official Accessories Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Srixon (Official Ball), Titleist (Official Web Partner) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.
About HBSC:
HSBC provides a comprehensive range of financial services to around 58 million customers through four global businesses; Global Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Global Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets and Global Private Banking.
HSBC Golf Sponsorships
HSBC’s global commitment to golf encompasses all levels of the game, from grassroots to elite. HSBC is a Patron of The Open Championship and this partnership with The Royal & Ancient creates a centre of gravity in a global golf portfolio that spans HSBC's key markets.  In Asia, HSBC has spearheaded the arrival of world-class golf events, with its flagship WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai and HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore. The WGC-HSBC Champions is renowned as ‘Asia’s Major’ and was once described by 14-time Major winner and former World Number 1 Tiger Woods as “The crowning jewel of all of Asian golf.”
HSBC has been co-title sponsor of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship since 2010 and the event has quickly become one of the biggest events on the European PGA Tour calendar.  As golf returns to the Olympic Games for Rio 2016, HSBC is also sponsoring the Brasil Champions event on the Web.com Tour.
However, underpinning those blue-riband events is a longer-term goal to create a legacy from HSBC’s global tournaments through its sponsorship of youth development and grassroots programmes.  As well as committing to the professional game, HSBC has a longer-term goal to create the legacy through sponsorship of youth development and grassroots programmes around the world. In China, HSBC supports the HSBC China Junior Golf Program – a sustainable long-term structure and framework upon which the future of Chinese golf is being built. This includes the HSBC-sponsored China National Junior Team, the HSBC China Junior Open and the HSBC National Junior Golf Championship: a year-long series of tournaments designed to give China’s elite junior golfers the competitive platform they need to develop their game. In the UK HSBC is sponsor of HSBC Golf Roots – The Golf Foundation's national development programme which promotes the sport in schools, helps youngsters into clubs, and uses golf to promote important life skills such as honesty and respect.
For more details on HSBC's golf activities, visit www.hsbcgolf.com
The HSBC Group
HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide from over 6,200 offices in 74 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, North and Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. With assets of US$2,754bn at 30 June 2014, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.
About IMG
IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion and media operating in more than 30 countries around the world. IMG’s businesses include Events & Media, College, Golf, Tennis, Performance and IMG Academy, Fashion, Models, Clients, Consulting, Licensing, Joint Ventures, and creative management agency Art + Commerce. In 2014, IMG was acquired by WME, the world’s leading entertainment and media agency. Together, the companies offer an unparalleled client roster; world-class partnerships with sponsors, brands and broadcasters; and marquee assets across entertainment, events and fashion.
About World Golf Championships/International Federation of PGA Tours
The International Federation of PGA Tours was formed in 1996 by golf’s five world governing bodies – the European Tour, Japan Golf Tour Organization, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour (South Africa) with the purpose of providing a forum for the world’s professional golf organizations to discuss issues of mutual importance and, together, develop and promote the game of golf on a global basis.  The Asian Tour joined the Federation in November 1999.  As part of its mission, the Federation initiated the World Golf Championships in 1999.  The Federation was expanded in June 2009 and now includes the Asian Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia, Sunshine Tour, China Golf Association, Korea Professional Golf Tour Corp., Professional Golf Tour of India, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour, Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour, Japan LPGA, Korean LPGA and the Ladies Asian Golf Tour.