Strong field set for Thailand

Major winners Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer will join defending champion Sergio Garcia in a star-studded field for the eagerly anticipated fourth edition of the 2014 Thailand Golf Championship, which will once again be staged at Amata Spring Country Club on December 11-14.

Furthermore, two of Europe’s other Ryder Cup heroes – Lee Westwood, who captured the Thailand Golf Championship in 2011, and Victor Dubuisson – have committed to play in the Asian Tour’s US$1 million tournament, as has South African legend Ernie Els, who will be making his first appearance in the event.

Adding to the excitement of a tournament that has provided so much drama in its first three years, the Thailand Golf Championship has been confirmed as part of The Open Qualifying Series (OQS), with four places at the 2015 Open, to be held at St Andrews, up for grabs.

With a little over two months to go before the action gets under way at magnificent Amata Spring, which has been voted as the best course on the Asian Tour for three consecutive years, Garcia said he can’t wait to return to the Land of Smiles.

“I have been coming to the Thailand Golf Championship every year and I love it, but last time was especially special as it gave me my first win of the season,” said world number three Garcia, who made a hole-in-one on his way to a four-shot win in 2013. “The event always attracts a really high-quality field and this year it is as strong as ever, so I’ll need to be at my best if I want to retain my title. I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

In Watson and Kaymer, the Spaniard faces two players who have this season recorded their second major championship victories.

In April, 35-year-old Watson put on a brilliant display of ball-striking to collect his second Green Jacket for winning the Masters Tournament at famed Augusta National Golf Club, while Kaymer powered his way to a convincing first US Open title at Pinehurst’s historic No. 2 course.

“Sergio played great last year and I’m sure all the European guys will be feeling good after their win at the Ryder Cup, but Amata Spring is a course I really enjoy playing and I know I can perform well on. There’s no doubt: it’s going to be another great week in Thailand,” declared Watson, whose best result at the Thailand Golf Championship came in 2012 when he finished in a tie for second behind runaway winner CharlSchwartzel.

Kaymer, who has enjoyed a breakthrough season after winning the Players Championship in May before adding to his major championship haul at the US Open in June, will be making his Thailand debut and is raring to go.

“I’ve heard so many good things about the Thailand Golf Championship – the quality of the golf course, the friendliness of the fans and the great atmosphere they provide – that I was very happy adding it to my schedule,” said the German, who is ranked 12th in the Official World Golf Ranking. “I’m really hoping to experience plenty of Thai culture, too.”

Inaugural Thailand Golf Championship winner Lee Westwood, who fired a blistering 12-under-par 60 in the first round on his way to a seven-shot victory in 2011, is gunning for his second Asian win of the year after claiming the Malaysian Open in April. The Englishman, one of the most successful players in European Tour history, said his fondness for the event combined with his knowledge of the course will stand him in good stead.

“The 60 I had that first year was certainly the lowest and arguably the best round of my career.” reflected the 41-year-old. “Amata Spring suits my eye very well and it is always in fabulous condition. The Thailand Golf Championship is one of the most enjoyable weeks of the season and I’ll be trying my best to get the trophy back off Sergio.”