Thailand's Chawalit takes aim at Avantha Masters

New Delhi: Thailand’s Chawalit Plaphol is eager to build on his early success in Myanmar with a second Asian Tour victory at the Avantha Masters which starts on Thursday.

 The classy Thai won the Asian Tour’s season-opening Zaykabar Myanmar Open last month and is hoping to extend his Order of Merit lead at the €1.8 million (approximately US$2.3 million) showpiece, which is tri-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI).

 “I want to maintain my Asian Tour ranking, that is why I’m playing in the Avantha Masters. It will also have strong World Ranking points. It will be my third time competing in the Avantha Masters and I am hopeful of finishing better than my best result which was tied 17th last year,” said Chawalit.

 He will be among a talented pool of Asian Tour winners at the Jaypee Greens Golf Course including countryman Thongchai Jaidee, Jeev Milkha Singh of India and Liang Wen-chong of China, who have a combined total of six Asian Tour Order of Merit crowns.

 There will be a strong Thai representation this week with Arnond Vongvanij, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Prom Meesawat, Chapchai Nirat, Thitiphun Chuayprakong, Gunn Charoenkul, Panuphol Pittayarat and Chinnarat Phadungsil all in the elite field.

 Chawalit, a four-time Asian Tour winner, hopes to etch his name among the illustrious winners at the Avantha Masters, who have all been Asian Tour members in the last three seasons. Andrew Dodt of Australia won in 2010, S.S.P. Chowrasia of India tasted success in 2011 and Jbe Kruger of South Africa secured a maiden win last year.

 “If I’m lucky, I’ll have a chance to win. In this game, you always need luck. In Myanmar, I drove the ball really and putted nicely. Winning in Myanmar was good as it has given me a lot of confidence for the rest of the year and I hope to win again. 

 “My four Asian Tour titles have all been in full-field tournaments and it’ll be nice to add a co-sanctioned tournament onto my resume. I remember I have come close previously in the Malaysian Open and China Open but missed out on the win. I led for three rounds in Malaysia but lost to Thongchai,” said Chawalit.

 Chawalit will enter the Avantha Masters with a fine-tuned swing which has been his recipe to success so far this season.

 “In the pre-season, I practised a lot with Thammanoon (Sriroj) back home and I worked on my ball position at address. The ball was previously more on the left heel but I’ve moved it a bit more to the centre which seems to be working out for me as my body was moving too fast in the downswing,” said the Thai