Thongchai Jaidee made the cut at the US Masters for the first time last week, after two previous failed attempts. – AFP Photo
PETALING JAYA: Thailand’s Asian Tour winners – Prom Meesawat and Thongchai Jaidee – will give themselves an extra push in a bid to outshine compatriot Kiradech Aphibarnrat at the Maybank Malaysian Open this week.
Prom aims to win the tournament for the first time for his wife, who is pregnant with twins.
“We’ve been planning to have a baby since last year. I’ve tried to keep it quiet but it’s now eight weeks and we’re lucky that we’re expecting twins.
“I’m trying to take care of my wife and telling her to slow down on everything in the first three months of the pregnancy.
“It’s a very special time for me. Of course, I have to work harder now! With twins, I’ve got to earn double ... I’ve got to work very hard and play in tournaments every week,” said the delighted father-to-be.
Watching his good friend Kiradech win the Malaysian Open last year has provided Prom with the added motivation to shoot for his second Asian Tour victory since 2006.
“Each time I see a Thai player winning, I feel very proud. We are showing that we have good golfers despite our country being small.
“It’s very special when Thais win a tournament, especially so when Kiradech won the Malaysian Open last year.
“I think, this week, there’s a good chance for another Thai player. Prayad Marksaeng is in good form and Thongchai (Jaidee) made the cut in the Masters and is in good form.
“Kiradech is struggling a bit but he always plays good on this course. I’m going to try my best to be at the top of the leaderboard,” said Prom.
A confident Thongchai also has high hopes of another triumph in Kuala Lumpur after chalking up a personal milestone at the US Masters in Augusta last week.
The three-time Asian Tour No. 1 completed his “career Grand Slam” of making the cut in all the Major championships after playing in all four rounds in the year’s first Major for the first time in three attempts.
His result at the US Masters came two weeks after leading Team Asia’s magnificent comeback to draw against Team Europe in the inaugural EurAsia Cup in Malaysia.
He hopes to continue the momentum with a third Malaysian Open title and his 14th Asian Tour victory.
However, the Thai duo can expect strong challenges from former world No. 1 Lee Westwood of England, Major champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium as well as Kiradech.
“I think the more you play at Augusta National, the better you get. I’m very happy with my performance. My key goal was to make the cut because it was the only Major where I didn’t make the halfway cut before,” said Thongchai.
“After you play well in a Major, you always get more confidence. I’m definitely happy with how I played and I think that I’ll continue to carry on my form.
“I’ve travelled all the way from the United States but I don’t feel any jet lag. I slept a lot on the plane and I feel great now.”