Promising Danthai ready to step up at Thailand Golf Championship

Chonburi, Thailand: Young talent Danthai Boonma of Thailand will have the company of some of the world’s best players when he steps up to the tee at the prestigious US$1 million Thailand Golf Championship that starts on Thursday.

The 19-year-old rookie, who claimed his Asian Tour breakthrough in Singapore last month, hopes to step up his learning curve when he pits himself against the star-studded field at the Amata Spring Country Club this week.

“I am really excited! I am glad I have the opportunity to play against some global stars. The course is in a good condition. This is a great event and I hope I can play well this week,” said Danthai, who came through Qualifying School in January shortly after turning professional.

Danthai, a double gold medalist at the 2012 South East Asia (SEA) Games, underlined his growing potential when he secured a tied-fourth finish at the 2014 King’s Cup, which was also his debut appearance on the Asian Tour.

“Winning in Singapore last month has opened up a lot of opportunities for me. It has given me a lot of confidence in my game as well. It would mean a great deal if I can secure one of the four spots to The Open next year but I don’t want to think too much about it. It’s not going to be easy but I will definitely try my best. I just want to enjoy this week,” added Danthai,

The Thailand Golf Championship is part of The Open Qualifying Series (OQS) where four places will be up for grabs to the leading four players who have not already qualified for the 2016 Open Championship.

Meanwhile Thongchai Jaidee, who is expected to spearhead the home charge at the Thailand Golf Championship, hailed the recent successes of Danthai and Natipong Srithong and believes these youngsters can go on to become regular contenders on the world stage.

“It’s really exciting to see a new crop of young players showing how capable they are of winning, even in their rookie years. I hope to see more of such promising players coming through in the near future. It will be a good experience for them this week, given the strong field,” said the 46-year-old, a three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit champion.

Turning his attention towards his title charge on home soil this week, the 13-time Asian Tour winner is optimistic of becoming the first Thai to lift the Thailand Golf Championship trophy since the tournament was inaugurated in 2011.

“I will try my best and win. No Thais have done it before. I want to try and keep the trophy at home. This is a great event. It’s always nice to play at home and have your home ground support,” said the veteran, who is the highest ranked Asian Tour player in 28th position on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).

American Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia of Spain, Martin Kaymer of Germany, Ryder Cup and EurAsia Cup Captain Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland will headline the Thailand Golf Championship alongside defending champion Lee Westwood of England, who is bidding to win the Thai showpiece for a record third time.

Reigning Order of Merit winner David Lipsky of the United States, Australian Scott Hend, placed second on the current rankings, India’s Rashid Khan, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Chiragh Kumar will also feature in the Thailand Golf Championship.