Chiang Mai, Thailand, August 1: Veteran Thai Thammanoon Sriroj is in confident mood ahead of this week’s Singha Chiangmai Open, the ASEAN PGA Tour event he won last year to break a long victory drought.
Thammanoon shot an eagle and two birdies in a four-hole stretch on the back nine to overtake countryman Prayad Marksaeng and lift the title by two strokes at Mae Jo Golf Club & Resort.
“I’m feeling very confident going into Chiang Mai as defending champion,” said the 45-year-old Thammanoon, a five-time winner on the Asian Tour.
“I really like the Mae Jo course. There’s something about it which suits my eye. I think my game is really coming together at the moment.”
Thammanoon won the last of his Asian Tour titles at the 2004 Tianjin Open, after which his game largely deserted him, but his success at last year’s Singha Chiangmai Open and a recent stint at a training camp have put a spring in his step.
“Before the (recent) Singha Panasonic Hua Hin Open I spent a week in camp at Singha Park in Khon Kaen,” he said. “I spent the whole week working on both the physical and mental side of my game. I feel I’ve really benefitted from that.”
Thammanoon faces a power-packed field including last year’s runner-up Prayad, multiple winner Thaworn Wiratchant and the in-form Chapchai Nirat, second in the Singha Panasonic Hua Hin Open earlier this month.
Young guns Phachara Kwongwatmai, who won the 2013 Singha Hua Hin Open aged just 14, Poom Saksansin, a winner on the All Thailand Golf Tour earlier this year, and Jazz Janewattananond will be looking to upstage their more experienced countrymen.
Thai Gunn Charoenkul, whose victory at the Singha Panasonic Hua Hin Open gave him an almost unassailable lead at the top of the Road to Sabah Masters rankings with US$34,299 in prize money, has chosen to sit out this week’s tournament after finishing 38th in the European Tour’s Russian Open on Sunday.
The Singha Chiangmai Open, the fifth leg of the 2014 ASEAN PGA Tour schedule, is co-sanctioned with the All Thailand Golf Tour.