Thongchai and Kiradech aim to win True Thailand Classic

Hua Hin, Thailand: Thai home heroes Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat hope to be the pride of their nation by winning the True Thailand Classic presented by Chang next week.

Both players have an old score to settle in the US$1.75 million tournament sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour at the Black Mountain Golf Club from March 10 to 13 after coming close to winning the inaugural edition some 12 months ago.

Thongchai, the only golfer to win three Asian Tour Order of Merit titles, and 2013 Asian Tour number one Kiradech finished tied second and equal fourth respectively as they watched Australian Andrew Dodt hoist the new trophy.

The 46-year-old Thongchai, currently ranked 34th in the world, said he will be pushing hard to win at Black Mountain where he also owns a holiday home on the exclusive golf resort.

“It’s great that we’ll be having the True Thailand Classic for the second year and I’m very excited to play in the tournament again. I’ve got a house next to the ninth green and I’ll enjoy strong support from my home fans for sure,” said Thongchai, who won once on the European Tour last season and also made his Presidents Cup debut.

“Golf is Thailand is growing and we are now seeing a new generation of golfers emerging on the Asian Tour, such as Danthai Boonma, Natipong Srithong and Thitiphun Chuayprakong. With tournaments such as this in Thailand, it will help the game grow and I am confident we will see many more new stars coming up. I’m very happy to represent the Thai people in the True Thailand Classic.”

Kiradech, who is ranked 45th in the world, added: “I’m looking forward to playing in the True Thailand Classic. Last year’s tournament was a great success and I am keen to put on another strong challenge. I will try my best to win my first Asian Tour and European Tour event in Thailand. It would be very special if I can achieve this goal.

“The tournament has been a great addition on the Asian Tour Schedule and it will support the development of golf in Thailand and Asia. As you can see these days, many young Thai players have emerged and it will not be a surprise if one of our players wins the True Thailand Classic.”

Long-hitting Kiradech won twice last season to break into the world’s top-50 and is keen to get back to his best form after a somewhat lacklustre start to his 2016 campaign.

In four tournaments, he has not finished higher than 52nd position but an appearance at home in the True Thailand Classic will certainly provide him with the incentive to play his best again.

A special “Pride of Thailand’’ trophy awaits the winner of the True Thailand Classic. The trophy, featuring unique Thai art, is a reflection of the effort which has gone into establishing the tournament. It signifies the pride of the Thai people in hosting the prestigious event. The trophy was designed by Thailand’s acclaimed Chang Sip Mu craftsmen and is a combination of traditional Thai craft and contemporary design.