The penultimate event of the Asian Tour season is played this week at Amata Springs Country Club about an hour outside of Bangkok where a high quality field has been assembled to tackle to the US$1 million Thailand Golf Championship.
Not only is the event an important title in its own right but the leading four players inside the top twelve this week and not otherwise qualified will earn the right to play the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon in July.
The event has typically brought together a high quality field over its previous four years and this year is no exception with three winners of events last week in different corners of the world in the field, namely Sergio Garcia who won in Vietnam, Bubba Watson who won in the Bahamas and Nathan Holman who won on the Gold Coast.
Garcia has won this event previously and given his drought breaking win last week he brings some winning confidence to this event.
It is a fair bet to assume that if Holman, who won last week’s Australian PGA Championship, knew what he knows now he might not have made the trip to Bangkok as the riches he earned last week, including a start at the Open Championship means there is not the pressure to perform this week that there was four days ago.
Also in the field are the likes of Ben An, who has just completed his first European Tour season with not only a win at the BMW PGA Championship but several very good finishes late in the season.
Matthew Fitzpatrick is another European Tour rookie who is emerging as a potential world class star. Fitzpatrick, a former US Amateur Champion, has not played a lot in Asian climates like Thailand but he is a fine young player full of promise.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Thongchai Jaidee are two locals who will command a lot of respect, both playing well in recent weeks especially Jaidee. There is no reason why they can’t contend and win in their homeland, Jaidee in particular appearing like a good hope.
Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood along with others of those mentioned earlier will ensure the tournament budget is stretched by the appearance money no doubt being paid to many of the stars of world golf but will also ensure a lot of interest in the tournament.
K.T Kim has won a massive five events on the Japan Tour this season and will arrive in Bangkok as one of the big movers in world golf this year.
Australians other than the aforementioned Holman are Scott Hend, Marcus Fraser, Terry Pilkadaris, Andrew Dodt, Sam Brazel, Josh Younger, Anthony Murdaca, Josh Younger, Adam Groom, Kalem Richardson, Matthew Giles, Unho Park, Marcus Both and amateur Ryan Ruffels.
Ruffels gets his start as a reward for performance at the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship in October where his runner-up finish earns him a title at Open Championship qualifying.
Hend is currently in second position on the Asian Tour money list with earnings of nearly US$500,000 and although he has no chance of catching the leader, Anirban Lahiri, he can hang on to second position ahead of possibly Andrew Dodt who is currently third.
About The Author : Bruce Young
A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce’s extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia’s leading golf journalists and commentators.
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