CHONBURI – Double Masters Champion Gerry Lester “Bubba” Watson, Jr. is excited to be back in Asia where he seeks another victory on Asian soil at the US$1 million Thailand Golf Championship which starts on Thursday.
The world number four, who won his first title outside the United States in Shanghai last month, is eager to repeat his good form in the region and end his year on a high note at the Amata Spring Country Club.
“It’ll be fun if I can get that Asian double. It’s always a challenge to come out from my comfort zone in the United States and play golf at a tough golf course, especially with lots of great players at this tournament.
“This is it, my last event for the year. I’ve got two weeks off before going to Maui. So it’ll be nice to have a chance on Sunday. As long as you have a chance on the back-nine and your name’s on the leader board, it means you’re playing good golf and you’ve a chance to win,” said Watson, who finished tied-30th at the Thailand Golf Championship last year.
The American produced what he described as a ’once-in-a-lifetime’ shot to force a play-off at the WGC-HSBC Champions which he eventually won last month. But he is hoping not to do it the hard way again at the Thailand Golf Championship.
“Hopefully I can just two-putt to win instead of having to hole a bunker shot,” laughed the 36-year-old American.
“It was one of those things we’ve seen throughout history on different Tours where a guy holes out to force a play-off for a win and for me to do that in Shanghai was once in a lifetime. It might never happen again in my career,” added Watson.
Apart from Watson, Thailand’s highest ranked golfer, Thongchai Jaidee along with defending champion Sergio Garcia of Spain, France’s Victor Dubuisson and former world number ones Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood are also among the star-studded field vying for the Thai showpiece.
Fresh off another top-10 finish in South Africa which pushed him two spots up to 42nd place on the Official World Golf Ranking, Thongchai is delighted to be playing in his first event at home this year.
“It feels good to be back home and playing in front of the local fans. It has been a fantastic year for me and hopefully I can get another solid result this week.
“I would have liked to play more often at home but my schedule sometimes doesn’t allow it. Now that I’m back, I want to give my best and hopefully that will be good enough for a win,” said Thongchai.
The three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner has enjoyed a spectacular year highlighted by his second win on European soil in Sweden and his captaincy for the EurAsia Cup where he led Asia to a thrilling draw with Europe.
“I’ve no complaints about this year. It’s one of the best years in my career and my results have spurred me to do better and improve all the time,” said Thongchai.
Kaymer meanwhile has already declared his early intentions to win the Thailand Golf Championship in his first attempt. Kaymer, who won his second Major at the US Open this year, is making his first visit to Thailand and is determined to make his stay in the Kingdom an unforgettable one.
“I’m here to win and that’s the reason why I’m here. I haven’t played in Thailand before and I’ve always wanted to win here. So this week would be a good opportunity for me to do so.
“It’s a very strong field this week and it’ll be nice to be the first German to win the Thailand Golf Championship,” said Kaymer.
The Australians in the field include Scott Hend, Marcus Both, Kieran Pratt, Nathan Holman and Andrew Dodt to name but a few.
By Bruce Young