ALL SYSTEMS GO FOR REJUVENATED PAVIT AT BOONCHU RUANGKIT CHAMPIONSHIP

Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, January 8: Thailand’s Pavit Tangkamolprasert is recharged and ready to impress following a two-week break from golf when he kicks off his year at the season-opening Boonchu Ruangkit Championship which starts on Thursday.

The 29-year-old Thai took a much-needed break from golf to spend Christmas in Hua Hin with his girlfriend Gam, and is eager to get back into the swing of things as he begins his campaign at the ฿4 million (approximately US$121,700) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event hosted by Thai legend Boonchu Ruangkit.

He will be joined by a star-studded cast aiming to keep the trophy at home. They include defending champion Namchok Tantipokhakul, world number 37 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, three-time Asian Tour number one Thongchai Jaidee and 10-time Asian Tour winner Prayad Marksaeng.

“I feel really relaxed, it was a really good break after a long season. After my vacation with my girlfriend I am looking forward to playing again,” said Pavit, a one-time Asian Tour winner.

The Thai hotshot won his sixth ADT title on home soil in May last year to match the most number of ADT wins with Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang.

That victory provided a timely boost to his underwhelming season where he struggled with a wrist injury and only recorded two top-10 finishes on the region’s premier Tour.

“I had a wrist injury and was out of action for four weeks. But after my win on the ADT I believe I could contend again and it came at a good time.

“The ADT was really where I started. It is where I got my Asian Tour card and earned Asian Tour status. Every time I come back here I just feel comfortable seeing all the familiar faces,” added Pavit, who won the ADT Order of Merit in 2014.

Countryman Jazz Janewattananond is hoping to bounce back from his defeat in the past two editions of the event, after losing in a play-off in 2016 and making bogey on the last hole in the final round the following year to settle for tied-third.

“I have had some pretty good memories here. This event has always been at the end of the season. Now that it is the season-opener, everyone will want to do well and I definitely do have a different mindset this year.

“I spent a lot of time with Boonchu after he picked me to play at the Amata Friendship Cup. It is such an honour to be playing in a tournament hosted by the ‘Godfather’ because he has helped a lot of the younger Thai golfers on Tour,” said Jazz, who was a part of the winning team at the Amata Friendship Cup led by captain Boonchu Ruangkit.

Buoyed by the confidence from earning his Asian Tour card after finishing in fifth place on the Merit ranks last year, Finland’s Janne Kaske will be chasing his third ADT title since his last win in 2015.

“I played some of the best golf I have ever played in the second half of the season last year. After four years of playing on the ADT I think it really helped me develop this mindset where I am confident even when I see my name on the leaderboard,” said Kaske, who recorded eight top-10 results last season.

Other notable names in the field include American duo Johannes Veerman and Casey O’Toole, Shohei Hasegawa and Kazuki Higa of Japan, Malaysia’s Shahriffuddin Ariffin and Chinese Taipei’s Wang Wei-lun, all winners on the ADT.

The leading seven players on the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2020 season.

Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points are offered on all ADT events with the winner earning a minimum of six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points on a sliding scale.