Young guns to take on Major champions

Tue 15 Oct 2013

Young guns to take on Major champions

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Bangkok, October 15, 2013: Ryo Ishikawa, one of Japan’s brightest young golfing talents, will attempt to become the Thailand Golf Championship’s first Asian winner when he tees off at Amata Spring Country Club from December 12-15, 2013.
After finishing just outside the top-10 at last year’s Championship, the 22-year-old will return to Thailand to join a crop of thrilling young players, all ready to challenge the galaxy of international stars who have already confirmed their participation at this year’s tournament.  They include defending champion and 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, Bubba Watson, winner of the 2012 Masters Tournament as well as Spain’s Sergio Garcia, American Hunter Mahan and current Race to Dubai leader, Henrik Stenson, who recently claimed both the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup crowns.
A winner of 10 Japan Tour titles already in his career, Ishikawa has had a solid season, making the cut in both the Masters and the US PGA Championship. The Bashful Prince, as he is fondly known, enjoys phenomenal support wherever he plays and Thailand is no exception.  He is relishing the opportunity to compete against some of the world’s most experienced golfers as well as Asia’s top talent at the 2013 edition of the Championship.
“I am looking forward to returning to the Thailand Golf Championship. The field is once again top class and there are three Major Champions confirmed to play who I respect a lot so I am excited to have the opportunity to play alongside them again. It will be a competitive four days but I believe I am playing well enough right now to be a genuine contender for the title," said Ishikawa.
The two 24-year-old Thais, Arnond Vongvanij and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, are part of the next generation of Thai players making golf headlines around the world. These young stars will be doing their utmost to keep the coveted Thailand Golf Championship trophy within the domestic borders.
Arnond Vongvanij of Thailand Arnond Vongvanij of Thailand
Arnond, affectionately known as ‘Bank’, won his first Asian Tour event, the 2012 King’s Cup, and has displayed flashes of brilliance this year with three top 10 finishes, his best result coming at the Queen’s Cup where he claimed second place. He had to retire with a back injury at last year’s Thailand Golf Championship and is keen to make up for the disappointment this time round.
“It was unfortunate last year that I had to withdraw, which I really hate doing, but my back was hurting too much for me to continue. I had great partners too in Bubba and Ryo and I really thought I was going to put up a good showing at the event. I am looking forward to this year, the line-up is stronger than ever before, I am feeling good, and this will be a great opportunity to see where my game is against some of the hottest players we have in the sport right now," said Arnond.
Kiradech, the current leader of the Asian Tour Order of Merit, has enjoyed a break-through year, claiming victory at the Maybank Malaysian Open with a one-stroke victory over Edoardo Molinari in March.  Finishing tied six last year at Amata Spring, the big hitting Kiradech is hoping to close out his season with a win on home soil.
“Being Thai, the Thailand Golf Championship means a lot to me and it is a tournament I would dearly love to win. Our local fans always give us so much support and nothing would give me greater pleasure than to offer them something to cheer about at Amata Spring Country Club. The field is of such a high quality that it will be tough for anyone to win, but hopefully if I bring my A-game, I will have as good a chance as anybody out there.”
Another exciting young star who will travel to Thailand is 24-year-old Rickie Fowler. The American, who was Bank's room mate during their junior careers, recently confirmed his participation at this year’s Thailand Golf Championship and his edgy and larger-than-life character will no doubt make him a crowd favourite at Amata Spring.
With a total prize fund of US$1 million, the prestigious Championship aims to help develop professional golf within the region and promote Thailand as an international sports destination and regional event hub. In 2013, the tournament will be broadcasted live to 200 countries and 800 million homes worldwide.
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 as SCB, Gulf JP, Toyota, TAT, PTT, PTTGC, PTTEP, AOT, EGAT, Thaioil, IRPC, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Omega, Nooter / Eriksen, Samithivej Hospital, Starwood, CNN, SuperSports, Heineken, Ricoh and Amata Spring Country Club.
Thailand Golf Championship tickets are available from 15 October 2013 at Thaiticketmajor at Baht 300 each for Round 1 and 2 (December 12 and 13). The price for Round 3 (December 14) is Baht 400, and for the final day on December 15 the price is Baht 500. A 4-day package ticket is only Baht 800. For more information, please call 02-262-3456 or visit www.thaiticketmajor.com
Thailand Golf Championship will be broadcasting through Asian Tour Global TV and TrueVisions and you can follow the updated news on our website: www.thailandgolfchampionship.com or facebook: www.facebook.com/ThailandGolfChampionship