Thai legend and Black Mountain star Thongchai Jaidee will be one of the hot favourites at the True Thailand Classic presented by Chang.
The 46-year-old Thai will tee off in the US$1.75 million event alongside other Black Mountain luminaries who include Rikard Karlberg, Johan Edfors, Simon Yates, Pelle Edberg, Prom Meesawat, Jazz Janewattananond and Berry Henson.
Thongchai finished second last year but he hopes to defy the lingering effects of a viral fever to win the True Thailand Classic presented by Chang at the beautiful Black Mountain Golf Club.
Veteran Thongchai was admitted into a Bangkok hospital for three days after pulling out from the third round of a Malaysian event three weeks ago and also skipped the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship in the United States last week.
“I want to get my feeling back. Last week I rested and started to practice. Hopefully I feel better. I think I’m 70 or 80% now, but I want to be 100%. It’s bad when you get sick,” said Thongchai, who owns a villa at Black Mountain.
He is adamant to rectify his record at the True Thailand Classic where a three-putt on the final green denied him the chance to force a play-off with title holder Andrew Dodt.
“I had a good chance to win but unfortunately it wasn’t good enough with the putting. I know the field his quite strong and I’ll try my best. I played nine holes on Monday and Tuesday and 18 holes today. I’m practising well, hitting it well and putting well. But in the tournament it can be different.”
While the home fans will be expecting him to live up to his favourite tag and win on Sunday, Thongchai said it was an open field. “In golf, anything can happen. Some guy can hit top form and beat the field. Every week, I play my own game and play the golf course. You have to have a perfect week to win. If someone shoots a low score, you can’t do anything. Anyone can win a tournament here,” he said.
Meanwhile Prom, a Hua Hin native, is prepared to raise local cheers as he aims for honours at his home course.
“This is my home town, so it’s good to play a tournament here. I always enjoy playing in my home town and this is also my home course,” said Prom.
“It’s good to have big co-sanctioned events in Thailand like they do in Malaysia, India and Singapore. Although this is my home course it doesn’t mean it’s an advantage as it’s suited for the long hitters. But I’m always playing okay here.”
Thai rising star, Jazz is also eager to put up a strong challenge at Black Mountain. “This week is great as I get to sleep on my own bed and it’s one minute from my condo on the golf course to the first tee,’ said the 20-year-old, who is seeking a first Asian Tour victory.
“Winning the tournament will be the perfect moment. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like if I can pull off a win at home and I’ll try my best. Normally, it’s either my putting which is bad or my chipping which is bad that stops me from winning. If I can put it all together, I know I will have a chance.”