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Three Thais to play at this week’s British Open

GOLF: Thongchai Jaidee hopes to rediscover his short game after working with a new coach ahead of his 11th appearance at the British Open which starts tomorrow (July 20).

Bangkok Post

Wednesday 19 July 2017, 09:56AM

Photo: Bangkok Post
Photo: Bangkok Post

The 47-year-old Thai has teamed up with Pompetch Saraphuthi, who is former coach of Kiradech Aphibarnrat, and he believes the new partnership will give him an extra edge at Royal Birkdale.

Tomorrow afternoon’s tee times for the three groups with a Thai golfer:

  • 12:46: Phachara Khongwatmai; a-Maverick McNealy, United States; Stuart Manley, Wales.
  • 1:08: Paul Broadhurst, England; Thongchai Jaidee; Roberto Castro, United States.
  • 2:14: David Duval, United States; Prayad Marksaeng; KT Kim, South Korea.

Friday’s (July 21) schedule will have the same groups but with later starting times. Phachara’s group will begin at 5:47pm, while Thongchai’s trio will tee off at 6:09pm, followed by the Prayad threesome at 8:15pm (all UK time).

“I’ve been struggling with my putting since last year so now the main priority is to improve on my short game. If you putt well, you won’t feel scared of doing badly,” said Thongchai, the only player to win three Asian Tour’s Order of Merit crowns.

“He [Pompetch] is the best to look at my putting. Hopefully in the future it will be better. I started working with him two months ago. Previously it wasn’t full time, but now we are working together full time. I’ve got a good relationship with him so I’ve seen some improvement in my game,” said the Lop Buri native.

With narrow fairways and deep bunkers, Thongchai, a 13-time Asian Tour winner, said hitting accurate tee shots will be the key to a good score.

“The golf course is very interesting and it will be very important to keep the ball in play because the fairways are very narrow. If you hit a bad drive, you will get into trouble if your ball lands in the big bunkers,” said Thongchai.

He is feeling good vibes ahead of the year’s third major tournament and is determined to better his best result at the Open in 2009 when he finished in a share of 13th place.

After playing in 10 previous editions, Thongchai is also familiar with the unpredictable weather.

“I’ve played in many tournaments in Europe so I’m quite used to the weather and this is my 11th time playing at the Open so I know what to expect,” said the former soldier who has won eight European Tour titles.

“I really enjoy playing in a major so I’m just glad to be here. My best memory is obviously in 2009 so hopefully I can rediscover my game again and enjoy another good result this week.

“You can’t expect to play well when you putt badly but I’m feeling good this week so I’ll try to get my confidence back.”

He will play in the opening two rounds alongside Paul Broadhurst of England and Roberto Castro of the US.

The other two Thais at Royal Birkdale are teenager Phachara Khongwatmai and 51-year-old Prayad Marksaeng.

Phachara, who will be making his second appearance at the Open, is grouped with American amateur Maverick McNealy and Stuart Manley of Britain.

Prayad is paired with fellow Asian Tour member KT Kim of South Korea and former world No.1 David Duval of the US.

Defending champion Henrik Stenson will partner former world No.1 Jordan Spieth.

Stenson and Spieth are scheduled to tee off with South Korean Kim Si-Woo, who became the youngest winner at the Players Championship earlier this year.

Stenson, who edged Phil Mickelson to win the title at Royal Troon last year, is bidding to become the first man since Padraig Harrington in 2008 to retain the title.

Top-ranked Dustin Johnson will play with Rory McIlroy and Charl Schwartzel, while Masters champion Sergio Garcia will be joined by Jason Day and Zach Johnson.

Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama is in the same group with US Open champion Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood. agencies.



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