Thai golf star cracks world top 50

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This handout picture shows Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand in action during the Barclays Singapore Open Pro Am event at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore, 2008. Thongchai's victory at the Ballantine's Championship saw him crack the world's top 50 and qualify for next week's lucrative Players Championship in the United States.

Thongchai Jaidee's victory at the Ballantine's Championship saw him crack the world's top 50 and qualify for next week's lucrative Players Championship in the United States.

 

 

The 39-year-old displayed nerves of steel to beat South Korea's Kang Sung-Hoon and Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano in a play-off to win on Sunday for his 12th Asian career triumph.

 

 

It catapulted him up from 73 to 49 in the new world rankings released Monday, earning him a tilt at the 9.3 million dollars in prizemoney up for grabs in the United States next week.

 

 

Other Asians set to play include Korea's K.J Choi (ranked 30), Japan's Shingo Katayama (35), and India's Jeev Milka Singh (36).

 

"I was thinking that if I won the tournament, it would be my 12th on the Asian Tour and fourth on the European Tour. That's a very good thing," said Thongchai, who added that making the top 50 had always been his target. 

 

With four victories in the past five months, he is now on top of the Asian Tour's Order Of Merit on 707,857 US dollars ahead of Anthony Kang of the United States and India?s Jyoti Randhawa, who both missed the cut in Korea.

 

 

Noone has won three Order of Merit crowns in Asian Tour history but Thongchai, who was number one in 2001 and 2004, is now odds-on favourite to do so.

 

 

"It is terrific to see Thongchai chalk up another impressive victory," said Asian Tour chief Kyi Hla Han.

 

 

"Since coming onto the Asian Tour, he has become a truly world-class golfer through his exploits and experience of competing on the Asian Tour. He is raising the benchmark for other players in the region." — AFP

http://www.todayonline.com/articles/316395.asp

 

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