Thai teenager Jazz Janewattananond couldn’t have asked for a better debut at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland.
The 19-year-old featured amongst the leaders after the opening round at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club which is set amidst the stunning Swiss Alps before settling for a share of 37th position in the co-sanctioned Asian Tour and European Tour tournament.
Although he ended his campaign with a two-over-par 72, the Black Mountain player said he enjoyed the experience of competing in high altitude and found delight in playing with two Ryder Cup stars in Lee Westwood and Patrick Reed on the final day.
“I enjoyed every minute at the Omega European Masters. I also got the chance to play with Lee and Patrick. I look up to them and it was great to finally have a chance to play with them,” said Jazz.
“It was a good experience overall and I cannot ask for more. It was a disappointing score on the last day but overall, it was a good experience.”
Jazz was set to feature in the prestigious tournament last year but a visa snag denied him the opportunity to visit Switzerland, which is the only tournament in Europe to host a co-sanctioned event by the Asian and European Tours.
After featuring on the leaderboard on day one with a 65, Jazz drew plenty of attention with fans and golf writers wondering if he had the longest name in the game. In fact, his name would actually be longer as ‘Jazz’ is a nickname given by his father who is a lover of jazz music. Jazz’s real name is Atiwit.
“My dad loves jazz music, hence the nickname,” he explained.
Rated as one of the most exciting youngster to emerge from Thailand, which has crowned Asian Tour numbers ones in Thongchai Jaidee, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Thaworn Wiratchant, Jazz first played his way into the history books in 2010 when he became the youngest ever player to make the halfway cut at the 2010 Asian Tour International in Bangkok at the age of 14 years and 71 days.
After turning professional later in the year, he slowly played his way onto the Asian Tour and finished 30th and 31sts on the Order of Merit in the past two seasons. His joint 37th finish in Crans pushed him up to 21st position on the latest Merit list.
He said he will learn from his Swiss outing as he continues to set his sights on a maiden Asian Tour title.
“Looking back, I played the front nine very poorly and I played pretty solid on the back nine (on Sunday) especially on the par fives. I’m going back to work on my iron play,” said Jazz, whose best finish of the year so far is third at the Queen’s Cup on home soil.
“When I look at Lee and Patrick and compare myself to them, I know there’re still lots of work to be done.”